Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/twoway/public_html/food/wineday/wd1298/wd122998.html on line 28

Warning: include(http://globalgourmet.com/includes/banner468.html): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/twoway/public_html/food/wineday/wd1298/wd122998.html on line 28

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://globalgourmet.com/includes/banner468.html' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/twoway/public_html/food/wineday/wd1298/wd122998.html on line 28

 

by Fred McMillin
for December 29, 1998

 

From Bordeaux to Bombshells


Prologue

1884—"When grown in the proper soil in well-drained hillsides, Zinfandel yields Bordeaux finesse, flavor and bouquet."

...Charles Wetmore, California's first Chief Viticultural Officer

1970—"Excited by their discovery that the Zinfandel could make varietal rather than jug wines, California winemakers exploited its abundant berries-&-spice flavors to a fault, creating 16% alcohol bombshells."

...David Darlington, author of the Zinfandel book Angels' Visits

However, the bombshells bombed. Critic Bob Thompson noted that "Americans quit drinking Zinfandel for 15 years." So the vintners changed. Bordeaux balance became the role model. By 1991, Fredric Koeppel would write California was finally producing a wine "with depth and fruit qualities that seem more like Cabernet Sauvignon than Zinfandel."

Typical of the transition was the Peachy Canyon Winery. Readers of the Oct. 26, 1998 WineDay know that Doug Beckett said that in the early '80s they were "gorilla winemakers." They switched to a lighter style with great success. To see how successfully, we put another bottle of that Oct. 26 Zin against three Haut Medoc reds in the same price range, all tasted blind. The Peachy Canyon did well, receiving a 6% higher rating than the best of the Bordeauxs. Here's the wine.


The Wine

Zinfandel Cookbook 1996 Zinfandel, Westside, Paso Robles
Peachy Canyon Winery on Peachy Canyon Road
Food Affinities—Call Margaret Smith for a copy of the Zinfandel Cookbook, (pictured) (800) 600-9086...Blue Ribbon Chili...Moroccan Lamb Shanks...Bittersweet Chocolate Cake...a bargain at $14.95.
Wine Contact—(805) 237-1577
Price—$19


Postscript

About food affinities, there's a chef who strongly favors the berry-spice of Zinfandel with his particular cuisine. The food is Cajian and the chef is Paul Prudhomme.

Credits: Old newsletters of Robert Lawrence Balzer covering early Zinfandels.

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 

 

WineDay Annex

More articles by
Fred McMillin

 

Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.

 

Anthony Dias Blue's
Tasting Notes

GourmetMarket.com's
Wine Clubs
and
Wine Store

 

12/28/98
From the Land
of the Kiwi

Winery of the Week 12/25/98
Merry, Merry Christmas

12/24/98
Wilcox & Lane,
It's Not a Law Firm

12/23/98
How To Mend A Blend

12/22/98
The Sangiovese Problem

12/21/98
Portico Will
Stop the Show

Winery of the Week 12/18/98
Fleur Du Cap
is on the Map

12/17/98
Your Complete Petite

12/16/98
Grenache Panache

12/15/98
Drake's Day

12/14/98
The Birth of a Wine

Winery of the Week 12/11/98
The Durell Spell

12/10/98
Barbera Bounces Back

12/09/98
Pedroncelli Power

12/08/98
A High-Tech Malbec

12/07/98
'Tis the Season to Be Bubbly

Winery of the Week 12/04/98
Prohibition's Setting Sun

12/03/98
Botrytis Bliss

12/02/98
Hernan Cortes

12/01/98
Mumm's the Word

Current WineDay

January WineDays
February WineDays
March WineDays
April WineDays
May WineDays

June WineDays
Summer Break
September WineDays
October WineDays
November WineDays

1997 WineDays

 

The Global Gourmet

Copyright © 1998—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.