Monday, September 21, 2009

Renwood Zinfandel Grandpère 2004

A friend of mine who was visiting from Canada brought me this wine. He used to live in California, and this was one of his personal favourites. I'm grateful to him for bringing this as it was from his own personal stash.

I don't often drink Zinfandel. My initial experience with it at a Wine Society tasting was memorable for all the wrong reasons. My main beef with it was it seemed to have a tomato-like flavour and aroma that I found really off-putting. I've avoided it ever since, which isn't really all that difficult since it's not the most common grape variety seen in the UK.

This wine by Renwood Winery, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, couldn't be more different. It's apparently made from possibly the oldest Zinfandel vineyard in America, the 20 acre Grandpère vineyard, dating back 130 years.

Wine writers love to heap scorn on this style of wine. To borrow some clichés: Big, bold, high in alcohol, bigger-is-better-in-America, etc, etc they all apply here. That doesn't mean the wine isn't enjoyable though. It has a wonderful nose, full of fruit and almost floral perfume. I had to double check that women's perfume hadn't somehow rubbed off on the glass. It has a thick, syrupy texture and hugely concentrated cherry fruit flavour. Very good indeed, and none of that tomato stuff going on.

By the second glass, the alcohol (15.5%) can seem a bit drying, and you start to notice some vanilla oakiness. Whether or not this is a fault is really down to personal preference though.

Americans love their Zinfandel. If they all taste like this, I can certainly see why.

Renwood Winery
Grandpère Zinfandel 2004
Amador County, California, USA
~$40 (USD)

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