When people talk about “everyday” wine, I’ve sometimes wondered exactly what they mean. Is it a wine that goes with all sorts of food so it can be consumed without care? Is it a simple wine that that can appeal to many different palates? Or is it an inexpensive wine that you can afford to sip everyday?
Family-owned by Sonoma County’s Sebastiani and Sons, Smoking Loon wants to be all that and more. I can’t say their other Smoking Loons are very impressive, but I wholeheartedly stand behind this 2009 Zinfandel. It’s not a wine that snobs will be wowed by… not a wine that will blow you away with its austere classiness… but it’s drinkable, is made in a sweet style that will please many American palates. And… it’s super cheap: about $8.
With 17% Petite Sirah and 7% Syrah blended in, this is a rich wine with surprisingly mild tannins (considering the blending grapes) that flow easily over the tongue. It bears characteristically Zinful blackberry, concentrated black cherry, black raspberry, cigar box and green tobacco flavors, and the hint of acidity (and restrained alcohol – 13.5%) also allows to to pair with a variety of food. The fruity, menthol-infused, oaky finish tastes like a winemaker cared about what went into the bottle. Pretty nice for the price.
Sweetness: 3 out of 10
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Price: $7 – $10
Occasion: Sample sent from the winery, tasted blind.
Availability: Grocery stores nationwide.
Food pairing: Burgers! Ribs! Beehive Buzzed cheese, duck breast in any sort of berry sauce