Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 | California, Lodi, Red Wine, Wine Blogging Wednesday, Wines Under $20, Zinfandel
Choose a wine, any wine, that you love to unwind to and tell us about not only the wine but what makes the experience special and relaxing for you!
At first this seemed easy enough, but when it came down to actually picking one wine to write about, the task became rather daunting. There were several bottles in the running. I had to really think about what “comfort wine” means to me. I considered some of my favorite comfort foods (steak-frites; tuna salad in a pita, dunked into some chicken noodle soup; penne topped with my husband’s marinara sauce) and realized that they’re all pretty accessible foods. They’re all easy to prepare, the ingredients are readily available, and they’re not terribly expensive. Since there are just so many wines that I could pick to write about for this topic, I thought I’d apply the same criteria to wine.
The bottle I would write about had to be readily available (because there’s nothing worse than really wanting a glass of a specific wine and not being able to find it) and not terribly expensive (I decided to cap it at $15). I also wanted to pick a wine that was “quaffable” — that is, a wine that stands on its own and doesn’t really require food to be enjoyable. With that in mind I picked Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel. It retails for around $12.99 and you can find it pretty much anywhere. I’m a big fan of Ravenswood wines, so really I’d be pleased as punch with anything from the winery, but I happen to be especially fond of the Lodi Zinfandel.
The wine is a blend of 84% Zinfandel, 14% Petite Sirah, and 2% “mixed blacks.” It is a full-bodied wine that is jammy and spicy with flavors of raspberry, plum, and vanilla. It is soft and lush as it rolls around in your mouth. The oaky finish is nice and warm and consistently puts a smile on my face. At 14.5% alcohol, it’s a big wine but I find the alcohol to be well-integrated.
No, it’s not a terribly complex wine, but when I’m thinking about “comfort” I want something that’s easy. I want to kick around in my bunny slippers and to curl up in my favorite chair. I don’t want to teeter on heels and be aware of my posture all night. I don’t want a wine that makes me work. I don’t want to decant or swirl the heck out of the glass, trying to open it up and coax out all the little nuances that make it a fantastic wine. Sometimes I just want to crack open a bottle that I know I can trust, pour it in a glass, and enjoy. I think that Ravenswood has consistently proven it can make quality “no brainer” wines. When I pick up a bottle of Ravenswood anything, I’m confident that I’m purchasing a decent product.
It’s been interesting to see what other wine bloggers consider comfort wines. I’ve noted that Sonadora of Wannabe Wino and Erika of StrumErika.com also picked Zinfandels. Once Joel has had a chance to compose his wrap-up, I’ll be sure to let you know so you can check out what everyone else chooses to help them relax.
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