Deep crimson in color, with an enticing spicy-fruity nose. An eclectic medley of wild bramble fruit aromas jump from the glass with blue, black and red berries, black pepper, sweet spices, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and layers of smoke. On the palate there is a lovely balance of fleshy opulence and a grounded earthy rusticity. Supple tannins provide enough structure to frame. This is a very flavorful, fruity driven wine with quite a long finish.
At the table: Or, rather I should say 'by the grill'. This wine begs some char - spare ribs, chicken wings, a simple burger or a nice juicy steak, anything with a tangy chipotle sauce, Merguez or other spicy sausage, even chips and dips - a nice spicy salsa or smoky baba ghanoush - a very versatile summer entertaining wine.
About Zinfandel, Estancia and the Keyes Canyon Ranches Zinfandel
Zinfandel is regarded as the quintessential California red grape and varietal wine. Zinfandel cuttings came to California during the Gold Rush. The grape adapted so well to the terrain, it was quickly adopted as California's own variety, even though its origins are not American. In 2001 DNA testing determined that Zinfandel had the same DNA as the Croatian red variety Crljenak Kaštelanski (soorl-yen-ak kash-tel-ahn-ski). Even though its origins are European, Zinfandel is truly at the heart of California's wine history.
Estancia, which roughly translates from Spanish as 'estate' was founded in Paso Robles by legendary Chilean born wine producer/entrepreneur Augustin Huneeus. Paso Robles, with its warm days and cool nights (it has one of the greatest day-night temperature swings in all of California) is known for its full-bodied, robust, flavorful red wines. Keyes Canyon Ranches is a highly regarded zinfandel growing vineyard in the heart of Paso Robles. This Estancia Keyes Canyon Ranches Zinfandel was aged for eight months in American oak, of which 25% was new before bottling and release.
• 2009 Estancia Paso Robles Keyes Canyon Ranches Zinfandel , $11.99 retail. Also available through Amazon and Wine.com.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.