Blood Of Zinfandel

Last time I had a go of it, I threatened to go out on a limb and write about a domestic rose made from Zinfandel. I’m not backing down. Well, with the weather approaching 90° in downtown San Francisco (oh, my!) and having overdosed on Food Network episodes of all things bbq and grill related, I’m through with being a spectator. It is time to ravage the spice rack and start rubbin’. The question which follows next, naturally, is what to drink? Ok, hear me out. I think it is well established that I am quite fond of French rose. No surprise there. However, when heat is a major component to the food, like spicy meat rubs or tangy barbeque sauces, you need a rose that has a bit more intensity and structure to match up. And that is how I have come to recommending Storybook Mountain’s 2009 Zin Gris, aka Blood of Zinfandel. The wine’s bright grenadine color immediately signals that this ain’t no ordinary rose of Zinfandel. Put all preconceived notions aside. This is a rose fermented dry in barrel from wine bled off from Storybook’s famed Zinfandel grapes. It is fruity, full-bodied, round textured and seemingly created especially for summer month cookouts.
Dr. Jerry Seps purchased his vineyard property high atop the Mayacamas Range back in the 70’s. Though the property had a long history of grape growing dating back to the 1880’s, the vineyard had been neglected and needed replanting. Seps considered the red clay soil, the ideal eastern exposure of the vineyard, and the climate, and decided upon planting Zinfandel. On his winery’s website, Seps quotes Andre Tchelistcheff’s advise that “the best area anywhere to grow Zinfandel is in the red clay soils above Calistoga.” As a side note, I had the great honor of meeting the legendary Monsieur Tchelistcheff at a gala event for Beaulieu Vineyards back in the early 90’s (Pete always tells me, whenever you think it happened, subtract 5 years and you’ll be right). I walked right up to his table and introduced myself. I was not going to let the opportunity to meet one of California’s greatest winemakers pass me by. He was gracious and patient with me as I, the pesky fan, gushed on and on. Back to the task at hand, for the last 30 years, Storybook Mountain has been making some of California’s finest, and longest-lived, Zinfandels. The Zin Gris, an unorthodox rose, is a refreshing and well-crafted addition to Storybook’s line-up of reds.

What’s going on at The Wine House? Expanding International selections, newly painted WC (dubbed “the Disco”) and now, lest you think we take ourselves too seriously, domestic roses. Sure we’re going to continue to offer Bordeaux Futures and seek out those tiny wine jewels from France, but we are first and foremost wine lovers here; wherever and whatever it takes to stock what is good and what is tasty. If you have not finalized your Father’s Day menu, may I suggest Asian-spiced baby back ribs and a slightly chilled glass of Storybook’s 2009 Zin Gris. After all, real men do drink roses, so don’t feel you have to serve a heavy red. This week I went to my daughter’s “moving on” ceremony. No longer a Kindergartner, her ravenous appetite and lengthening limbs are pushing her ahead leaving the chubby, squishy baby behind. A tad sad, yes, but mostly I am excited for her. New BFF’s forged, writing and reading language, an unrequited crush, and learning to count to one hundred. I’d say it was as close to perfect a school year could be. – Anya Balistreri


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Filed under Anya Balistreri, California, Spicy food

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