Two wines with dinner, a relatively restrained affair.
Francis Ford Coppola 'Directors Cut' Zinfandel 2005, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, USA
Noel Young - £15 A-(+)
An excellent brooding Zinfandel. I've heard praises being heaped on FF Coppola's wineries in California, achieving somewhat a cult status. Granted, this wine isn't his best offering, more like the entry level Zinfandel that they do and if this is the little brother, then I can only salivate at the prospect of its more illustrious brothers. The wine had a well-perfumed nose, with some notes of woodiness and cool smoke; the warmth of the alcohol was also apparent. The palate was full of plump red fruits, cherries, blackcurrants and plummy bramble, almost like a berry compote; the flavours were generous and yet vey focused and concentrated, which made me think that a lot of the grapes must have come from old vines or were very heavily selected. You simply cannot make wines with this kind of depth in flavour with young vines. The light touch of French oak contributes to the elegant smoothness of the wine (even at this tender age) and its lingering finish was notable too. In all, this is a serious Zinfandel; OK its not cheap, but you get plenty for the money, and I have no doubts this will continue to mature for at least another 5 yrs, but to be honest, you already get a lot of satisfaction enjoying it now. Somehow I feel that this should be treated like a classed growth Margaux.
Was had with: Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Cant go wrong really; I didnt pay much attention to the food, it was the wine that really took centre stage.
Independent adjudicator rating: 8/10. General nods of approval.
Familia Zuccardi Torrontes Tardio 2007, Mendoza, Argentina
Oddbins - £7 (50cl) B+
Came highly recommended from the people at my local Oddbins. This was made using partially dried Torrontes, which explains why there is still alot of racy acidity in this supposedly desert wine. The flavours were still citrus-dominated, even sweet grapefruit; the sweetness rather pales in comparison to the acidity which in my mind was too cutting and wasnt integrated into the wine. Most desert wines sort of lumbers on your mouth, it feels heavy due to its sugar, this one sort of dances on the palate, tingling the tastebuds. Its interesting drinking, and would probably go very well with things like lemon tarts or any desert which has a significant sour tang to it. Doesnt have the finesse of Sauternes, but for the price, its hard to complain.
Was has with: Peach tart and cream. Desert needed something more sugary and substantial, this one danced on your palate and sort of fleeted away quickly too.
Independent adjudicator rating: 7.5/10. Lacked sweetness.