Monday, November 14, 2016

The Federalist 2014 Dueling Pistols, Dry Creek Valley

The Federalist

On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton was shot in a duel by Aaron Burr and died from his injuries. Dueling Pistols wine uses no gunpowder but does have a nice kick.

Grapes Instead Of Guns

This has been one contentious political season. Ohio is considered a battleground state, so we were under constant assault by a barrage of political ads – television, internet, radio, mailers, you name it.

While I listed to music on Spotify, President Obama even put in a plug for Hillary. With the depths of incivility displayed during the campaign, we’re lucky Trump and Clinton didn’t “go all Aaron Burr” on each other and demand a duel.

Federalist Vineyards is owned and managed by Terlato Wines. The brand features historic images of great Americans such as Hamilton, the most famous Federalist in US history. Federalist focuses on estate grown wines with an emphasis on Zinfandel.

Although the label displays a pair of dueling pistols, the only dueling going on is between grapes. The wine is a 50-50 blend of Zinfandel and Syrah.

Fire When Ready!

The grapes come from one of our favorite wine regions, Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. The vineyards are just off the Russian River shore.

The Zin and the Syrah are fermented separately and free run juice is used. Free run is considered the best ingredient of wine, as opposed to the juice that comes later from pressing the skins and seeds, which can add harsher flavor. Dueling Pistols also undergoes malolactic fermentation where malic acid is converted to lactic acid resulting in nice soft flavors.

Aging is 20% new American and Hungarian oak barrels. This adds some complexity without making it unapproachable. On the palate, I consider it bold yet smooth. Both Syrah and Zinfandel can be assertive or mellow, depending on the winemaker. In this case there is enough adventure in the glass to be entertaining without any harsh edges that might offput some drinkers.

I’ve never considered Zinfandel and Syrah a natural pairing, like Syrah and Grenache or Cabernet and Merlot, but each glass is helping to change my mind. Dueling Pistols shows that it certainly works and the interplay between the grape duo provides a lot of bang for a $17.76 SRP.

Full Disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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