We’ve got Olympic fever, and we’re putting selected American wines on sale: Today only, all California Syrahs and Zinfandels are 15% off!
The Syrah grape (known as “Shiraz” in much of the New World) is best known for its starring role in red wines from France’s Rhône Valley, especially in the Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage of the northern Rhône. Syrah is also grown all over the southern Rhône, where it imparts character to red blends such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône.
In its youth, Syrah is typically spicy, fruity, and sometimes smoky. A slow-maturing grape, it can show a healthy amount of tannin, yielding wines that display incredible layers of flavor and complexity over time.
Syrah often tastes of blackberries, black plums, and freshly cracked black pepper. In California, winemakers tend to focus on bringing out as much of the dark, ripe fruit as possible: try Qupé Syrah for a tasty example.
Grown in California since the early 1800s, Zinfandel has long been known as America’s grape, but Zinfandel’s DNA was recently found to be almost identical to the Italian Primitivo grape (as well as the Croatian Crljenak Kastelanski).
Still, in each region the grape expresses its heritage in different ways. In California, some of Zinfandel’s most commonly noted flavors are black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and boysenberry. Like Syrah, Zinfandel often shows spicy notes as well, such as black pepper, cloves, anise, and herbs.
When properly cultivated, Zinfandel can have remarkable complexity, showing hidden depths of cedar and chocolate after a few sips. Planted in the right place and tended with care, Zinfandel produces wines that are stout, hearty, and rich, without being overwhelming in structure.
Many Zinfandels are best in their youth, since their appeal often lies in their opulent, chewy textures and their explosively fruity character. The 2010 Sobon Zinfandel, for example, is perfectly delightful right now. With age, a well-made Zinfandel develops better balance, as its berry fruit is replaced by more of those delightful spicy notes.
Top 5 Deals From Today’s Sale:
Sobon Estate Zinfandel, Hillside – 2010
This delicious Zinfandel is produced from old vines in Amador County. Flavors of cocoa and blackberries ooze from the glass, making this sturdy and bold wine an absolute joy with hard cheeses or a grilled steak.
Foxglove Zinfandel, Paso Robles – 2010
This is Zinfandel at its best: juicy and tangy with just the right amount of fresh raspberry jam flavors and a spiced pink-peppercorn finish. At your next BBQ, swap your big, alcohol-loaded Zins for this fun andpeppy alternative.
Marietta Old Vines Red “55″ – NV
Marietta’s bottlings are consistently high in quality, medium in body, and nicely balanced. This blend – of Zinfandel and red Rhône grapes – is no exception, showing spicy, dark, gorgeous fruit.
Armida “Poizin” Zinfandel – 2010
An austere Zinfandel is a rare find. This one grips and posseses one’s senses. Deeply serious with wild black fruit, this is an ideal selection for any Zinfandel fan. From 100-year-old vines that bring anobvious concentration and weight to the final wine.
Qupé Syrah, Central Coast – 2009
A tasty and aromatic Syrah from Qupé, a specialist in Rhône grapes. This medium-bodied wine boasts classic Syrah flavors: black fruit and a touch of black pepper.