Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wine Tasting - Grgich Hills: Zinfandel 2008

My wife and I are members of the Grgich Hills Estate wine club, specifically Miljenko's Cellar Club (quarterly shipments).  Grgich Hills is located in Rutherford, in Napa Valley, and they own all their vineyards, allowing them to put the label of "Estate" on all the wines they produce.  In 2003 they started switching to biodynamic farming due to a virus on some of their older vines (planted in 1959), and in 2006 became 100% biodynamic.

In the world of wine, owner Miljenko "Mike" Grgich is something of a legend, having crafted the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won against the white Burgundies of France in the famous 1976 Paris Tasting.  This was chronicled in the movie Bottle Shock (which is somewhat inaccurate) and in the book Judgment of Paris by George M. Taber (which is quite accurate).

The Wine
Anyway, the subject of this post is not the Paris Tasting, but a wine from Grgich Hills, their Zinfandel 2008.  We got a bottle of this back in August, when we first visited the winery and signed up for the club, and another in our most recent shipment this month.  We opened the one purchased in August.

The Zinfandel is grown in their Calistoga vineyard, located in Napa Valley, at the northern end of the valley.

Opening and First Taste
The cork was very dry on this one, just a touch of the wine on the end, with no seepage.  I tasted it immediately after, and the aftertaste was very strong.  So we decided to aerate it with a wine-shower funnel we have, by Metrokane.

We funnelled it straight into the glass, however, not into a decanter.  We let it sit for a half hour after that before drinking with our meal of supreme pan pizza and a light salad (very fancy, I know).  Generally we try to pair wines with food properly, as we've learned that's very important when it comes to bringing out the full flavor of a wine.

The Verdict
It was much better after aeration and with food.  The nose was a mix of blackberry and raspberry to me, and drinking I got more of a strawberry taste, while my wife fixated on cherry.  It's interchangeable - sometimes you could taste one or the other.  The strong aftertaste mellowed out a bit after aeration and it went down smoothly with the pizza.  This is a good wine for any type of steak or tomato pasta dish.

This Zinfandel has a nice, deep red color

Grgich says their Zinfandels can be aged from 5 to 7 years, though they do recommend they be drunk not long after purchasing.  Since we have a second bottle of this vintage, we'll probably hold onto it for a while.  Perhaps a year or so, we'll see.  On that one we'll probably decant it and let it breathe for a few hours before drinking.

I've yet to try a Grgich wine that I don't like.  I highly recommend them, and that is why they are one of our three current wine clubs.  This 2008 Zinfandel is currently only $35 - well worth it, try a bottle sometime.

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