This is not a wine for the delicate or unsuspecting. Raspberry, mocha, unsweetened chocolate and wax are all rolled up on the end of a wooden stave, which somebody is about to sneak up behind you with and beat you over the head. That might be the 15.5% alcohol at work. Pairing recommendations? None. Drink this as a snack.
The nose is a load of blueberries, chocolate, tobacco - and fresh pecan pie, straight from the oven. All of a sudden, it was autumn, and I was diving into a moist pile of leaves in my front yard. That sweet, bold earth scent filled my mouth, and the finish had a plum and cherry chutney element that reminded me of a holiday in Chicago - trees lit up, walking the Miracle Mile and stopping for a hot apple cider.
Blood red, more than ruby but not quite garnet. Slightly hazy rim. Clear, deep in color but not black - I can see text through the wine, but not clearly. Tears are pronounced and stained. Clean, developing, medium intensity aromas. Lots of stuff going on here - chocolate, vanilla, black cherry (dark chocolate, black cherry brownies), strawberry, chocolate covered cherries, plum, dried fruit, dried floral, black fruit preserves, jammy, fruit steeped in brandy, almost like a rich Port. Towards the top of the glass the aromas are much more perfumed and include violet, cinnamon stick, and that graham cracker crust on the Good Humor strawberry cheesecake ice cream bars! Dry with medium acidity (that doesn't linger), full bodied, medium plus alcohol (15.6 abv!), soft tannins. Full flavors with jammy fruit, cedar, leather, black cherry, tart on front end, dried cranberry, and strawberry. Extremely fruit forward, luscious, and smooth. For the full review and others visit oe•no•phile.
This wine is actually a blend: 88% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Syrah and 3% Barbera. And what a marvelous blend it is – a refined wine that might even be a bit sophisticated for a Super Bowl party, but an indulgence I surely wouldn’t forgo. Yes, I did decant it and I was glad to have done so, as it allowed the wine to unfold in the most beautiful way. The aromas swirling in the glass are seductive enough to make you close your eyes as you take it all in – it’s all about dark fruit, cherry and vanilla. In the mouth, though, the fruit intensifies while subtle notes of spice and anise are revealed. The wine pairs perfectly with the chili, but it’s one you’ll want to keep sipping long after the meal is over. Winemaker Mick Unti says he wishes he could make Zinfandel like this every year… and so, I’m quite sure, will you! Check out the full article on Big Chili and Bold Wines.
This small-production bottling of 60- to 85-year-old vines from the Mohr-Fry ranches is simply spectacular. One sniff of this wine and I was seduced! Deep aromas of dark berry, currant and mocha make you want to sink your nose deeper in your glass, until the urge to taste it takes over. A gorgeous mouthful: this is a beautiful, smooth and complex wine with dark, juicy fruit notes up front and clove, cedar and even a hint of roasted coffee in the finish. The marvelous thing here is that the wine picks up all the roasted spices and the smokiness of the chili, making them come alive with every bite. Check out the full article on Big Chili and Bold Wines.
This small artisanal winery with an Old World approach to winemaking has always been a favorite of mine. It doesn’t hurt that winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos have loads a humor to go with their talent! “Quality, Value, Fun” are the three words that greet you on their home page, and they certainly live up to it—the quirky label alone of the Zin 91 will prompt a smile. But at $15 a bottle, this is not just a fun wine, it’s one that really delivers for the bucks. On the nose, it has typical Zin aromas: cherries, plums and dark fruits – altogether quite pleasing. In the mouth, the dark fruits are the first thing you’ll taste, but they’re quickly followed by spicy notes, a hint of licorice and an ever-so-slight bitter finish. It’s a chewy wine with good tannins and a smooth texture that make the spices in the chili come to life with each sip—a wine that can be enjoyed all night long (no matter how long those “football minutes” turn out to be!). Check out the full article on Big Chili and Bold Wines.
There are a couple of rules I follow when putting a menu together for a Super Bowl party. The food has to be copious (having to feed large men with equally large appetites for long hours–I learned about the infamous “football minute” early on in my football education), and it has to have kick!
Gretchen Neuman, of VinoVerve, and also our very favorite LocaPour, contributed three different half-bottles from her locapour travel adventures. I don't know about you, but I love half-bottles. If it's just me, they're just right. If there are two of us, we get to try two different wines, and if there are more, it's a vino-smorgasbord. The three wines are Wolffer Cabernet Franc, 2003, from Long Island, NY (Retail $15.00), 2004 Warm Lake Estates Glace Noir (Niagara Escarpment AVA) (ret. $14.99), and Fox Valley Winery Vintage Zin, American Dessert Wine (retail $20.95).