2011 Macchia “Mischievous” Zinfandel
We were having guests over for dinner last night and I was serving some delicious looking steaks with zucchini and prosciutto skewers and wanted a full-bodied wine that would compliment the meal such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a rich Zinfandel. After perusing the wine store aisles I found this California Zin that had a high rating of 92 and also a recommendation from the wine buyer. What more could I ask for? And they were right on the money – a super fantastic wine for under $20 that tasted more like a $60 bottle.
Macchia winery, located in Acampo California, gives their Zins very interesting names such as Outrageous, Adventurous and Oblivious and I am sure each one lives up to its namesake and this 2011 Zinfandel is no exception. Blended from 5 different vineyards, using the grapes from the stronger older vines, Macchia has produced a classic fruit-forward wine with rich berry flavors, just the right amount of oak, some earthiness and a subtle hint of vanilla. It has a wonderfully smooth finish and is the perfect accompaniment to steaks, grilled dishes as well as rich pastas.
Note: This wine has a higher alcohol content than most wines coming in at 16%.
Price Range: $17.99-$19.99
While attending my son’s wedding in Austin Texas we had the chance to stop by the hotel bar for a drink. Their house white was a golden colored Chardonnay from the Glass Mountain Vineyard near St. Helena, California. I was surprised to note that the parent company is none other than Markham Vineyards, producers of excellent wines, and among which are some of my favorites. This particular vintage is comprised of 77% Chardonnay, 16% Chenin Blanc, 5% Riesling and 2% Sauvignon Blanc, which gave the wine a nice crispness, probably from the Chenin Blanc and Riesling grapes, and a toastier oak edge from the Chardonnay grapes.
The flavors were mainly those of tropical fruit, crisp apple and pear with just a hint of vanilla and oak. Aromas were very pleasant reminding one of golden apples and fresh melon. There was a nice minerality to it and it finished very clean and smooth. A great choice for an everyday wine and even more so when you consider the low price.
Food Pairing: Pair with poultry, seafood and white fish, creamed based pastas, vegetable soups, light appetizers or just by itself.
Price Range: $6.99-$8.99
While dining at the lovely Brio Tuscan Grille in Boca Raton, Florida I saw a very interesting bottle of wine on the counter of the bar. It was a Sketchbook Cabernet Sauvignon with hand-drawn sketches of Mendocino County California on the labels. I later learned that these labels were sketched by artists Bill Shedds and Randy Grochoske and are meant to reflect the beautiful Mendocino countryside and the free-spirit of the winemakers.
Sketchbook Cabernet is a lush, full-bodied, velvety wine with complex aromas and appealing layers of sweet cherry, plum and black currant flavors accented with hints of mocha & toasty cedar. The wine has a wonderful balance with a long fruity finish enhanced by oak overtones. Truly a wine I enjoyed with my Italian pasta dinner and one I would purchase to enjoy at home.
Food pairing: Pair with red-sauced pastas, red meats, lamb, rich cheesy vegetable dishes, aged cheeses and, my favorite, dark chocolate.
Price Range: $17.99-$21.99