Our kick-off wine for our recent Mardi Gras dinner party was the Gnarly Head 2008 Old Vine Zin. Green Dragon had picked it up at Andersons in Maumee where it was recommended as a wine that would complement our dinner that was replete with spicy dishes such as Crawfish Etoufee and Jambalaya. For those who really like things hot, one of our guests brought Mother Pucker’s hot sauce!
We like Old Vine Zinfandel. Typically this means the wine is from vines that are 40 years or older. The older vines produce less fruit with those grapes having concentrated and vibrant flavors.
This Zin is from Lodi, California, which is well known for a climate that is ideal for growing Zinfandel grapes. It has long, warm summer days and cool ocean breezes in the evening. The soil is sandy and well drained.
The vines for this wine are 35 to 80 years old and the wine brand itself takes its name from gnarled old Zinfandel vines with twisted trunks and branches.
We decanted this wine and it had a lovely rich and dark aroma. It emanates licorice, plum and dark berry flavors. It is finished in a combination of French and American oak, but is not overpowered by wood. The wine has a medium body and despite being 14.5% alcohol, doesn’t “feel” heavy.
This is a great wine value, coming in at about $11. Match with pizza, chili, ribs or a New Orleans style feast.