Zin-Phomaniac with Sloppy Joes.
Zin-Phomaniac with Sloppy Joes.
Zin-Phomaniac 2012, Lodi
Cost: $16-18
O ne of the best places in the world for growing Zinfandel grapes is Lodi, so when you can find a Zin from Lodi in this price range, it’s worth trying.
I opened the wine with great anticipation because the marketing material said the grapes came from vines 20-75 years old, a mix of young and old vines. I love old-vine Zin because the flavors are so much richer and more complex.
Old vines are like people: production may go down a little with age, but the quality of what they produce goes way up.
The Zin-Phomaniac didn’t disappoint. Inky dark in the glass, it opens with aromas of cherry, blackberry and spice. The lush fruit flavors carry over on the palate, mixed with a little vanilla and baking spice. The finish is long and silky. It’s a soft, sexy, fun wine.
Some people don’t like to try serious wines with funny names like this one, but I figure if some thought has gone into making the label clever, the winemaker probably is pretty creative, too.
The label on this wine is a doozy, featuring original artwork by artist John Fretz that evokes the classic “Pin-Up Girl” posters of the 1940s.
“I’ve always loved the work of Alberto Vargas, whose name is nearly synonymous with pinup art,” says Zin-Phomanic creator Mike Kenton. “I wanted to create an image that was attention-getting, but not over the top. Something that would convey what’s in the bottle: a sexy, seductive wine that nonetheless retains a sense of class.”
He did a good job conveying that message, and more importantly, winemaker Carolyn Craig delivered the goods.
“The older vines give me small berries that tend to be bold and deep, with incredible concentration,” says Craig. “The younger vines have larger berries, and the flavors are beautifully fresh and inviting. The array of fruit gives me a lot of components to work from, allowing for more complexity in the final blend.”
The 2012 growing season was close to ideal in Lodi and much of California (as was 2013 and 2014), producing a lot of grapes with rich, complex flavors. Warm days and cool, foggy nights allowed the grapes to ripen slowly.
After picking, the grapes were crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. After pressing the juice off the skins some of the wine was placed in small French (20 percent) and American (20 percent) oak barrels for nine months. The oak gave the wine spice and cedar notes. The rest of the wine was aged in neutral vessels to retain some of the fresh, bright fruit character.
The end result is a terrific wine, which Kenton describes as “for Zinfandel lovers who can’t get enough of this seductive and tantalizing varietal.” Count me in.
Winery: Launched in the fall of 2013, Zin-Phomaniac is the newest offering from OFFbeat Brands, the Petaluma, California-based wine company established in early 2012.
Wine industry executive and entrepreneur Kenton partnered with European wine executive Xavier Batlle, to create OFFbeat Brands. Labels wholly owned by the company include, Jellybean Wines, Slices Sangria and Zin-phomaniac.
Zin-Phomaniac paired well with Sloppy Joes and potato chips.
Zin-Phomaniac paired well with Sloppy Joes and potato chips.
Goes with: My wife Teri and I like to drink good wine that’s affordable with ordinary midweek dinners. We paired the Zin-Phomaniac with an all-American dinner of Sloppy Joe sandwiches and potato chips. Perfecto.
Sloppy Joes lean a bit toward beer pairings, because of the spices, but the Zin-Phomanic handled them very well. The spice in the wine seemed to enhance the flavors in the sandwiches.
This Zin also would go well with burgers, pizza, pasta and hard cheeses.

Write A Comment

Pin It