My passion for zinfandel made the way it ought to be was reignited when I tasted this sample from Oakville’s Highlands Winery. It is not often that I use the word lovely and elegant when describing a zinfandel, but this is just that. Black cherry fruit and mouthwatering acidity lead into a subtle peppery finish. Structured, yet restrained, all of this wine’s components, if you will, are woven together quite nicely, resulting in a zinfandel that will complement food, not overpower it. Sharing it with new friends from California, Illinois, and New York was the icing on the proverbial cake. I was delightfully reminded me why I moved to the Napa Valley to follow my dream of working in the wine industry.
Just a few posts ago, I was saying how pinot gris wasn’t a go-to varietal wine for me. I am going to eat my words right this very second because I have discovered another good example, this time, a pinot gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The 2014 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, a sample provided to me by the winery, is plush, due to a special inoculation of three yeasts during fermentation, sur lie aging, and bâtonnage, all of which add a succulent, weighty texture to the wine. Stainless steel fermentation and aging allow for sweet citrus and tropical fruit flavors to envelope the palate. Beautiful floral aromas enhance the tasting experience. This pinot gris has it all: lovely aromatics, lively fruit, and a rich mouthfeel, all for only $16. Voilà, another pinot gris becomes a Beth’s Smart Sip.