Beyond Merlot: Rancho Zabaco and the Dancing Bull Zinfandels

October 22nd, 2008 by katie

Beyond Merlot: Wine Reviews for Newbies

Rancho Zabaco Zinfandels are always a wine list pick for me, so when I recently saw their Stefani Vineyard Zinfandel at our mini-wine shop I grabbed a bottle. This wine goes great with food. One of the first aromas you get is smoke. It smells like sharing a bottle with friends around a campfire. While drinking, you’ll notice the berries and pepper typical of most red Zinfandels (heavy on the pepper, lighter on the berries) but you’ll also notice a dustiness as you finish each swallow. I know, I know. You’re imagining a “hint of barnyard” coming next and you assume I’ve abandoned you into ridiculous wine jargon, but for real. Try it, it really feels dusty-dry and parched like a desert. It feels as though your tongue has been dried off with a towel. The wine has stripped the mingling flavors from your tongue. What is the point? The point is that it will go well with food because it refreshes your palate with each sip. When you don’t know what wine to pair a food with, look for ones with this dusty nature because they go nicely with a wide range of foods.

Ranging from $15-$20, it was a bit of a splurge and I was disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy it more often. But here’s the surprise: The Dancing Bull Zinfandel, which I know you have seen at the local grocery store, is produced by the same winery. At $8-$10 it is a much more economical choice. So how does it compare? On first opening the bottle, I was disappointed. It almost reminded me of cranberry juice-not my favorite juice. However, sometimes when you don’t care for a wine upon first sip, if you let it sit for about 30 minutes and air out, or open up (look at me today folks-just wine talk all over the place) the flavors will dramatically change. This is what decanters are for-besides looking pretty. In this case, the wine becomes deliciously jammy-much more so than I would expect from a zinfandel. The dustiness on the finish was there too, another wine I would expect to pair well with most meals. Say it with me: dusty on the finish, smoke and jammy, allowing the wine’s bouquet to bloom…

Print Friendly

Posted in Wine

2 Responses

  1. noble pig

    These are always a great wine. Usually consistent in quality…great for Turkey Day too.

  2. EAT!

    I haven’t had Rancho wines in some time. They were a favorite of ours while we were living in California. I am going to pick up a few bottles. thanks for the reminder.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin