Wednesday, August 12, 2009
WBW #60: ZIN & BBQ
I found out that Megan from Wannabe Wino was hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday this month and that the concept for this month’s exercise was Zinfandel. A pretty easy subject around these parts, thanks to the local ZAP chapter and our staff’s own inherent love affair with what could arguably be called America’s grape. With that in mind, being the champion of all things difficult and obscure (according to my wife), I wanted to think outside the (California) box and try to find something a little different. Now, I know what you are thinking – Primitivo – but no, I am not going down that road either. Instead, I looked to the land Down Under for the Groom Bush Vine Zinfandel 2006 from the Barossa Valley.
Crazy, I know. A f’n Aussie Zin? Sure, it's obscure, but hear me out.
Groom Wines are from Daryl Groom, a former winemaker at Geyser Peak and Penfolds, and the Zinfandel grape fits in well with Daryl’s dual life of living in the U.S. and making wine in Australia. His Zin venture arose from cuttings acquired from Cal-Davis, and planted with its own rootstock in the Kalimna sub-appellation of the Barossa.
The 2006 marked the 2nd vintage of the Groom Zin, and while this has all the earmarks of a traditional California Zin, the richness and power of this Zin is all Barossa. Working hard to find sustenance in the thick clay soils of the Kalimna, the fruit is ultra-concentrated, and in the heat of the Barossa, the wine is superripe, with voluminous red and black fruit aromas and flavors, brambly fruit character, and loads of black and white pepper, pomegranate and red currant notes. There is a balanced presence of acidity that makes this equally a food-wine as much as just quaffing material, yet with only 367 cases of this beauty produced, there is not much to go around.
I brought a bottle home a few months back and paired it up with some grilled steaks, and some grilled vegetables, which was obviously the right way to go. My wife was thoroughly surprised by the fact that this was an Aussie Zin and not from California. You’d never guess that it came from the Barossa, although its body and fruit character could hold up against any Napa or Sonoma Zin monster out there. We had some wine leftover – yeah, I know, I know – so next night, we grilled some country pork ribs with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce. The wine was better on day two, and was just sheer decadence with the ribs. Being that I sample so much wine at work, I have become something of a lightweight these days, so a glass or two of a massive Zin and a bunch of grilled meats will knock me cold on the couch before The Situation Room on CNN is over (example seen on the right). Yet I found myself wishing I had thought to bring home 2 bottles. My wife certainly said the second bottle would have meant I was getting’ lucky that night. (He swings and misses a high fast one in the corner…) Instead, another evening with our House Yeti (pictured holding me down on the right).