Red blends appear to be all the rage these days, and I’m all for it. Many times, single varietal wines can be one dimensional and flat, lacking in personality or interest. But mix in some other grapes and beautiful things happen. The Europeans, of course, have known this non-secret for eons, especially in Bordeaux, France and most parts of Spain and Italy. My column Blends Have More Fun talks a little more about this in detail but, suffice it to say that the new California trend towards blending several grapes together is a really, really good thing for American palates.
Trentadue Winery, a traditional Zinfandel producer from Sonoma County, saw the wisdom in following the blend trend, succeeding with both deliciousness and gumption. BUT, they saw it 30 years ago. Named for the original 1896 grape vine plantings, their Old Patch Red has remained their best selling wine for over three decades. The 2009 OPR (their insider name) is a creative blend of 77% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane and 1% Sangiovese, all sourced from their estate fruit. Soft yet full-bodied, it’s got some serious alcohol content (at 14.9%) but you don’t really notice. Juicy black fruits like blackberry, black cherry and plum take over your mouth and leave you with a finish of zingy oakiness and fruit basket flavors. Ahh… the lusciousness of a well-made Zin. Priceless.
Sweetness: 2 out of 10
Retail price: $12 – $15
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Occasion: Tasted at a wine bar.
Food pairing: Burgers, smoked ribs with a sweeter BBQ sauce, or with cheeses like this
Availability: Independent wine bars and retailers. Or online.