L'uva Bella American Zinfadel Reserve

L’uva Bella’s Zinfandel wine is robust in the best way possible, It kicks off with ruby red fruit notes of cherries and raspberries, then gets interesting with hint of spice and lasting finish.

Zin’s a pretty easy wine to serve—throw it in the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before serving to get it just a little bit chilly. It usually doesn’t need decanting. It’s ready for drinking with food—try it with burgers, red meat, pasta, or pizza. (It’s actually an awesome match for smoky beef jerky, too.)

Zinfandel is a red grape which produces red wines with strong flavors and aromas of berries. The berry flavor and aroma of Zinfandel wine can be so strong that some consider it ‘jammy’ in character. Many are familiar primarily with White Zinfandel which is a blush version of Zinfandel, not a true white wine. Other characteristics of Zinfandel grapes include high alcohol content, strong tannins, and slightly spicy flavors.

Zinfandel and California

Zinfandel grapes and Zinfandel wine are inextricably linked with California wine production because California is the only place they are grown. Zinfandel is one of oldest, if not the oldest, grape variety in California and today it occupies about 10 percent of all California vineyards. It has always been recognized as a member of the vinifera family, but there have been many different theories as to where it originally came from.

Modern DNA tests put all the debate to rest, though, when it revealed that Zinfandel grapes are descended from an obscure Croatian grape variety. Not many vines of Crljenak Kaštelanski remain today, but it seems to be directly related to the oldest and earliest domesticated grapes in the region. The origin of the name “Zinfandel” itself remains unknown.

Zinfandel and Aging

Because Zinfandel is a strong red grape some may assume that it produces wines that are perfect for long-term aging, but that’s not always true. Zinfandel is a versatile grape that allows for the creation of a range of wines, some of which are sweeter and should be drunk young. Only if the Zinfandel wine is made in such a way that elicits strong tanning structures is it appropriate for aging. Wine drinkers can generally differentiate between them because the latter sorts of Zinfandel wines are more expensive.

Zinfandel vs. White Zinfandel

If the dark red Zinfandel wines are made from the same grapes as the pink White Zinfandel wines, what’s the difference? The difference between the two is the same as the difference between red and white wines generally: it all comes down to the grape juice having contact with the grape skins during the fermentation process.

Regular Zinfandel wine is created by the juice having extended contact with the red grape skins, giving the wine its strong tannins and complex flavors. White Zinfandel, in contrast, experiences only the most minimal contact with the grape skins, allowing the wine to develop a slight pink color but no more. As a consequence, White Zinfandel wines are sweeter and less complex than their full-bodied siblings.

It’s worth noting that this is an unusual relationship. Other red grape varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, aren’t used to produce a good blush wine like White Zinfandel. Only Merlot is used to create a blush version known as White Merlot.

Grapes are grown on Watts vineyard located in Lodi, California. This spicy berry is Old Vine which the stocks are over 50 years old. Old Vine grapes produce wines that are concentrated, intense and identifiable displaying earthy structure and a bold taste.

Currently available:

  • Vintage 2012 (In-House) Glass: 9.00 Bottle: 28.00
  • Vintage 2012 (To Go) Bottle: 26.00
  • Vintage 2014 (In-House) Glass: 7.00 Bottle: 18.00
  • Vintage 2014 (To Go) Bottle: 16.00
Spring still life with champagne wine , strawberries and tulips

Did Monk Dom Perignon really discover it? How many brunches serve the real thing?

Debunk the myths and learn the true facts about French champagne.

For centuries, the great moments in life have been punctuated with champagne—French champagne. That sounds a little redundant, like Swiss Rolex, Italian Prada, or American Cadillac, but in this case the qualifier is necessary. The vast majority of American consumers are under the impression champagne needs to be from France to be legally called champagne, but that is just the biggest of many myths about the world’s most famous wine. In fact, the majority of wine labeled “champagne” sold and consumed in this country is also made in this country.

Even in its birthplace, Champagne-Ardennes, myths abound, and the long-held notion that Monk Dom Perignon was the father of champagne have gone the way of Christopher Columbus “discovering” the New World. Other monks were producing sparkling wines more than a century earlier, and years before his arrival in the hilltop hamlet of Hautvillers, an English scientist detailed the methode champenoise, or way of making champagne. But Dom Perignon did live here, and while in all likelihood never uttered his famous quote to fellow monks, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” he was a bubbly enthusiast and tinkerer who made several important contributions to its current quality. These include perfecting the blending of still wines before secondary fermentation and the introduction of the cork.

Before we delve too far into the myths, let tackle the important truths about champagne, at least the French version:

  1. Grapes for making sparkling wines grow better in Champagne than elsewhere, thanks to the regions unique terroir. It is the world’s northernmost prestigious vineyard region, wetter and colder than others, with 200 days of rain annually.
  2. It is the most expensive vineyard real estate on earth, over million Euros an acre. Less than two percent of the region can be planted with vines. They grow more potatoes than grapes.
  3. Farmers need to pass courses to grow grapes here. All grapes must be picked by hand.
  4. 100 percent of grapes used in champagne must be grown in designated vineyards  within the Champagne-Ardennes region.
  5. Almost all champagne uses just three grape combinations. Pinot Noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay.
  6. Grapes are first fermented into traditional still wines. But it is the next step that really  defines champagne. Still wines are put into bottles with some yeast and sugar, then  placed in cellars to age. As the yeast eats sugar it converts it to carbon dioxide, which  forms bubbles. Called secondary fermentation, this must occur in the individual  bottles.
  7. By French law, non-vintage champagne must be aged at least 15 months and vintage  at least three years (but most producers roughly double these minimums).
  8. After aging, the necks of the bottles are flash frozen, turning sediment into a solid icy  plug. Bottles are opened and pressure ejects the plug, leaving only wine behind. Bottles are then recorked and ready for sale. This final step is called “disgorgement.”

Are American consumers confused by cheap domestic “champagne” that’s not from Champagne? “Absolutely,” said Wine Spectator’s Napjus. “If you gave a hundred people on the street a bottle, at least 95 would think it is champagne. They have no idea. You can make sparkling wine by injecting it with gas like soda, and that is definitely done here. When you think about these bubbles and the bubbles in champagne, it’s completely different and it tastes completely different.”

Just about every high-quality manufacturer of sparkling wine in this country calls its product “sparkling wine,” and while French champagne starts around forty dollars a bottle, these good domestic sparklers start in the twenties. Domestic “champagne,” on the other hand, starts around eight bucks and rarely breaks out of the teens. Its starting price is coincidentally about the same as the wholesale price wineries in Champagne pay their neighbor growers for the grapes needed to make one entry level bottle. That $7-$10 just covers the actual grapes, before building a winery, buying equipment, hiring staff or crushing, fermenting, bottling, corking, labeling, aging, storing, marketing, or shipping. The ridiculous notion that you can get a finished bottle of champagne for the cost of good grapes alone is the biggest myth of all.

Happy Sipping!