I've promised myself this when I started drinking wine: I would always keep an open mind and continue to try new things. And I do, I really do (see my posts on Godello and Furmint). But I can see myself trending towards Old World vineyards and neglecting my palate's education in other such areas of the world, like California and Australia. I noticed this bottle kicking around downstairs: the 2006 Benson Ferry 9x9 Old Vine Zinfandel. This was a gift to my parents over the holidays; as my Dad doesn't drink wine and my Mom is more of a white wine drinker, I inherited it. I researched online and found that it's going about $11.99 retail, give or take. This zinfandel is from the AVA of Lodi in California. I'm already on a less traveled path for my palate: California and zinfandel are not common in my wine drinking escapades.
To start off the color was a pretty ruby color, one that looked dark, but you could see your fingers through it. Also, there were some rather long legs sticking alongside my glass (something I'm not quite used to with the normal 12.5% or so in Eurowines). This zinfandel smelled like an open-faced blackberry and black cherry pie that just came out of the oven- it's mostly that smell of that smushed up scrumptious berry mixture that always seems to be left on your plate after you finished your slice. But there's a hint and I mean tiny hint of mossy forest floor. It's as if someone tossed a tiny piece of moss onto your pie plate and you're thinking "What's this doing here?" This zinfandel starts off with all that fruit (blueberries, black cherries, and blackberries), shifts to a more tannic, earthy wine at the midpalate, and then finishes with a baseball mitt that has one tobacco leaf and some of that berry pie oozing out of it.
This 9x9 Zinfandel is like the Clark Kent of wines (I'm speaking strictly of his Daily Planet persona, not Superman). As with this wine, Clark Kent is the "gee shucks" type person who is sweet and thoughtful and will do anything for you. At first glance, Clark doesn't seem to be hiding anything. I mean, really, what could be so interesting about Clark that he'd need to lie about? However, he has hidden layers and is more complex than most of his friends would ever give him credit for. This wine, although not a complete 180 from its nose, is certainly more interesting than I first thought it would be. Even though it doesn't make the full Clark Kent/Superman comparison, the Benson Ferry 9x9 Zinfandel does not disappoint and made for a nice treat for my palate.
Currently a Masters student getting a degree in the Professional French Masters Program. I was recently featured in an article for Wisconsin Week, regarding the PFMP. In November 2008, I finished a three month stint with a winemaker in Bordeaux. After Bordeaux, I was a guest on Wine Library TV. Now I am finishing my thesis on Bordeaux wines, Robert Parker's influence, the rise of New World vineyards, and how these French vineyards can keep up. All the while, I'm trying to delve deeper into the wine world.