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Wine Review: Temptation Zinfandel


Guest Post by Andrea Whitehead

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"Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to." -Oscar Wilde

Don't let the screwcap fool you: this is classy wine, made by a classy, well known and long-established winery. Screwcaps are quite respectable these days and no longer carry the stigma of jug wine. Think of it this way: with this style of closure, you can indulge in Temptation just that much more quickly, and without any special equipment.

Color is deeply red, almost opaque, reminiscent of the color sangoire. Heady aromas of black pepper, crushed blackberries and char predominate. This wine is noticeably alcoholic; the fumes alone will lower your companion's inhibitions. On the tongue, smoked venison, graphite, and ephemeral blackberry jam. The finish has a slightly burnt note.

This is no sly, subtle invitation; if this wine is an iron fist, the glove here is leather, not velvet. Don't pour this wine for a shrinking violet who's never imbibed before. This Temptation is for the slightly debauched, who seeks further ravishment of her principles or her soul.

Alexander Valley Vineyards has a Weekend Pack for those who wish to engage in the full cycle of Temptation, Sin, and Redemption. I stuck to the first two... if I ever do find redemption, I doubt it'll be in a bottle.

Zinfandel is a truly American grape, one that may have immigrated from Italy or Croatia, depending on the legend you ascribe to. It was widely planted in California, starting in the 1830s, and many of the plantings survived Prohibition. It grows well in hot climates, though the ripeness levels it achieves can lead to highly alcoholic wines, bordering on port. The grape lost some of its popularity in California in the mid-1900s, until Sutter Home made a sweet rose wine that took the country by storm in the 70s: White Zinfandel. Please, if you refer to White Zinfandel, call it by its full name. When you just say Zinfandel, most wine drinkers think you're talking about the red wine made from the grape.

I love Zinfandel with anything barbecued. It pairs brilliantly with other quintessential American foods, like pizza and burgers. It also pairs well with mayhem, threats and seduction. Drink it in large glasses, by candlelight.

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