Sometimes a wine needs no introduction.
That’s it!! Nothing more.
Just kidding. But truly, when I decided to open this week’s “Wine of the Week” I was wondering if I really needed to write anything about the wine. After all, this has got to be one of the most iconic wines around. It’s a brand you see in almost every restaurant. Mention the name and your mind immediately goes to their Chardonnay.
In my case, I’ve chosen a different wine from their stable. The
Rombauer Zinfandel California 2016
Was I wrong? Have you never heard of Rombauer? If you haven’t, you’re one of only a select few. So what made me open a bottle of Zin instead of their Chardonnay? Availability for one. I had only the Zin in my cellar. Dinner was the other. My affinity (that’s another wine for another time, think Robert Craig), for Baby Back Ribs, precipitated the need for a good Zin.
Me and Rombauer go back a ways. Now I’ve had their Chard many times over many years. But within the last ten years or so, I was given a gift of the Napa Valley Zin. I bring that up as I seem to remember that Rombauer Zin wasn’t as accessible as it now is. In fact, I seem to recall it was only available at the winery. Given my memory, it’s possible that it was the Napa Zin and not the California Zin was the one only winery obtainable. Oh well, too long ago and not germane to the current situation.
How does that difference in bottling affect the current “Wine of the Week?” For me, it’s predominantly a matter of style. The California bottling is comprised of grapes blended from lots from El Dorado (60%), Sierra Foothills (23%), Lake (14%) and Napa (3%) counties. From my experience, these regions tend to produce a bigger style of Zin, while the Napa bottling is a little more refined and slightly less “jammy,” as I refer to it. Click here for the tech sheet.
Regardless, the California bottling was a big hit with the Baby Backs. A slathering of Bar-B-Q sauce to finish off the ribs gave them that sweet and spicy (sort of like me) finish that paired nicely with the wine. Combining the flavors of some raspberry, blackberry and that touch of jam along with softer tannins and a nice pepper note to finish the wine, made it easy to sip the wine and savor the ribs at the same time.
2016 is the current vintage, and I would be very surprised if you couldn’t find this wine. The winery has it for $35. That is probably a good bet on the price you might find out there. The Napa is a few dollars more and 100% of the fruit is Zinfandel whereas the California bottling has 6% Petit Sirah in the mix.
Thinking about throwing some ribs on the grill, or in my case the oven, then give Rombauer a try. I think you’ll enjoy it.