ZINFANDEL, Celebrate California’s own Wine
First of all, if you come to California, you must try and enjoy real California wine, Zinfandel. Zinfandel grape wine is only California’s own wine, nobody makes it around the globe.
When I first tasted Zinfandel wine was at French and Italian cuisine inspired restaurant in Berkeley, California. The restaurant was built in a charming old brown single house and both exterior and interior were look like a little Provencal countryside restaurant. I remember an extraordinary huge fresh flower arrangement in the center of the dining room, pure white table cloth, silver table wares and wine glasses, all were arranged very neatly. Polite, friendly yet very professional service staff (not like typical fussy commercial restaurant servers)...I loved it everything as soon as we were seated. It was the first great restaurant I ever had an exceptional dining experience in California for both excellent food and beautiful ambience. It was a four course dinner and each plate was presented nothing pretentious but food was exceptionally delicious.
I did not know anything about the restaurant before my first visit, however the restaurant was already acclaimed from local patrons and press media for their reputation of excellent food. Owners and chefs had a big passion for using organically grown, and naturally harvested only fresh local products to create daily changing seasonal menu with very reasonable price, (four course dinner for week-night and five course on Friday and Saturday). It was a very rare restaurant in California but they had a pioneer split, and revolutionary approach to succed new style of California restaurant (farm to table) at the time, because nobody wasn’t doing like they were doing in California.
Zinfandel wine was their house wine and we were recommended to taste. It was made by Joseph Phillips Vineyard in Napa Valley and it got restaurant's own label on it. It was good.
At that time, California was still twilight stage of high-quality wine making and many wineries were focusing to produce quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines. (It was also a big trend and economic business value, but interestingly at the same time that red wine wine was still called Burgundy and white wine was called Chabli in general public and ordinary restaurant. It was funny and I still don’t know why.)I don’t remember exactly how good my first Zinfandel was today, but I learned Zinfandel grape wine is only growing and producing in California, nowhere else in the world. I was very fascinated about learning the story of the only California’s own grape wine. And I admired the owners of the restaurant that they proudly offering local Zinfandel as their house wine among their extensive domestic and imported fine wines list.
Since then I always recomend Zinfandel wine to anyone come to visit in California, and of course it has been an essential my house wine too. It goes well with all kind of grilled or roast food, my home made pizza for all year around. Zinfandel wine has been evoleved to high quality red wine in past two decades and so many wonderful style of Zin are available today.
Zinfandel grape’s origin is said in southern Italy’s Adriatic coast, or perhaps the other side of the sea, the area around the country of current Croatia. It has been widely planted and growing in California well more than a century.
Zinfandel has been made into wines of varying styles and character, with much of it had been going into white Zinfandel, a light, fruity, slightly sweet blush wine. However the increasing popular “dry red Zinfandel” is hearty and robust/bold (good alcohol) and good acidity. It’s benefit using grapes from old vines and aging in oak barrel are well crafted.
Those “dry red Zinfandel” are remarkably good wine in recent years. It is richly and so appealingly exotic. Newly well handcrafted red Zinfandel is winner of California’s own wine. It’s good wine to enjoy all year around grilled food in hot summer to hearty meat dishes in cold winter, and pizza, pasta, Mexican food in between.
Blackberry, cherry, raspberry, plum, spicy dusky aromas and flavors (black pepper).
Characteristic/structure (dry, red style):
Medium to full bodied, with mild to strong tannins and alcohol (body). The wines are rich and deep in color, and have good depth, complexity and longevity (peak about 5-6 years).