In many ways, Zinfandel is the jack of all trades type grape. It can be red or “white”, dry or dessert.
Most Zinfandels are dense with fruit and full-bodied with flavor profiles ranging from herbs, black cherry, wild berries, raspberries, currants, plums and sometimes even boysenberry.
For the most part, Zinfandel is served straight up not blended. But some of the Italians, who just love to blend, put a little Petite Sirah, Carignan or Cabernet in to add a new flavor dimension, color or structure to the wine.
For versatility with meals, it’s the go to wine because it’s so fruity. It easily pairs with salads, grilled salmon, red or white sauces and salsa-smothered tacos.
While scanning the Zin shelves for an old vine to take to a wine tasting, I happened upon the Ravenswood Old Vine 2009 Lodi. The Lodi AVA is part of the larger Central Valley wine region of California. This particular wine is a blend of Zin and 23 percent Petite Sirah.
Having no will power whatsoever, I popped the cork to taste it with the grilled skirt steak with tapenade. The aromas and flavors of currants, spice, plum, and wild berry in this wine, with balanced acidity and a long silky finish made this an unbelievable match.
Ravenswood makes a couple of dozen vineyard or county designated Zins. We encourage you to try as many as possible to understand why the many AVAs taste so distinct. It helps you understand terrior.