Chatom Vineyards Zinfandel: This is what zinfandel always was and always should be, well, at least in my opinion. None of that high pedigree Napa or Sonoma that tastes like an over oaked homogenized style that seems to be permeating the zinfandel market landscape these days. This wine is a wonderfully accurate expression of this grape variety. Opening aromas are a briar and ripe fruit smell that in my opinion identifies zinfandel. I might want to include the aromas also have a hint of dust like a truck had just passed this blackberry bush on a dirt road and kicked up a dusting of silt dirt carrying some humidity. That nostalgic description reminds me of a smell from my childhood that takes me back to the days when I lived in the Southern Ozark Mountains.

The flavors need a few minutes of breathing time to be coaxed from the glass to reach their full potential. If you have the patience to wait just a few moments, your reward will be enormous. Do not be influenced by the 15.5% ABV as this wine is balanced and smooth and the perfect partner for any robust rustic cuisine. It will also pair well with haute cuisine as long as the flavors are big and not too acidic. Herb crusted rack of lamb springs to mind.

Where is Calaveras County you might ask? Well if you know much about the California Gold rush, you will already know it is near the Eastern part of California. Back in the day Mark Twain and the patriarch of the Hearst family spent a good amount of time there. Nowadays I think a few of the producers there make wines that are some of the best to be found in California. There were only around 800 cases of this wine produced but it is available online straight from the winery. Now if you live in a state where you cannot have wine shipped to you, first call and then write your senator and try to get that fixed then call Chatom Vineyards to see if they distribute the wine in your area. Enjoy!

Rating: 91 | $19 | 15.1% ABV