Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Another kind of flood… | September 22, 2009

For some, writing is a paycheck. For others, a passion. Others yet, an escape.

As I sit in my living room, wonder if and when the raging water outside is going to start seeping into my carpet, ruining an investment that already has us stretched thin, I can think of nothing better than getting on the computer and typing.
And I’ve got it easy. Yeah, the yard has washed away, a literal delta of silt covering what was grass, but at least the home is unharmed. Furthermore, no one I know has been injured, displaced, or killed. I wish I could say that for others in the city tonight.
Forgive my unusually somber mood…just a little shellshocked right now. Fortunately, one of the great things about wine and food writing is that its focus is on four things that offer a great deal of comfort: a good meal, good drink, good friends, and family. It doesn’t really focus on shelter, but hey- that’s good too. Let’s knock on wood!
Stream of consciousness out of the way, I want to discuss another flood: a veritable deluge of Lodi Zinfandel, single-vineyard Pinot Noir, and incredible edibles at a recent get-together. Ed Thralls, Atlanta resident and writer of a tidy little wine blog ( recently had some folks over to dunk our whiskers into a case of various Lodi (an American Viticultural Area east of the San Francisco Bay) Zinfandels. As an added bonus, Ross Halleck of joined us to cap a whirlwind, week-long trip to Atlanta, bringing along some of his incredible Sonoma Pinot Noirs. Luckily, Ross got out of town before the relentless wash.
Oh, added bonus #2: gourmand-extraordinaire Jimmy (of brought some crazy-good grilled meats (including skirt steak with chimichurri and ground lamb kebabs with a spicy, curry, yogurty-goodness sauce…I think that was its official name), and photo-whiz Broderick (of snapped shots that will certainly make mine look terrible.
While all the Lodi zins were certainly delicious, I noticed that most all had a very herbal, peppery nose that was not quite as fruit-forward as many others from places like Dry Creek Valley or elsewhere in Sonoma (the source of many of the best). Not that this was bad; I found the smells very intriguing, and almost more appealing for food pairings. In the mouth, I got the usual berries and spice, but they all kind of fell flat in a hurry…not a lot of structure and tannin, that I tend to like. They all were, however, complete bruisers in the alcohol department, one sporting 16.5% on the bottle. If you ever get your hands on a bottle of “Gluttony”, do NOT do so while operating heavy machinery!

Two did stick out in my mind as having great depth of flavor and structure: one was the OZV from Oak Ridge Winery and the other (oddly enough) from Eola Hills, and Oregon winery (who sourced the grapes from Lodi). The OZV demonstrated a great deal of rich blackberry, strawberry and cherry, interlaced with a nice structure that incorporated the likely-high-alcohol well (I didn’t catch the number off the bottle). Similarly, the Eola Hills demonstrated more fruit than the others, but what really drew me to this one was the incredible spice and structure on the finish. It didn’t fall flat at all, and it could definitely stand up to the grilled lamb and steak.
They were all nice; these two just jumped out at me. Regardless, if you like Zinfandel, Lodi is not a bad place to look. Not having the pedigree of a Sonoma County, this region can offer really good wines on the cheap, usually between $12-15 buckaroonies.
Yeah, I just said “buckaroonies”. It cheers me up.
Anyway, check out some of these wines. I think you will be very happy with them. And happiness is something we all need, because you never know when everything else will wash away.

To the things that can’t be taken away: Cheers, Sláinte, L’Chaim, Salud, Prost, Skål, Konbe, and Kampai!

Posted in floods, food, wine, zinfandel

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