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Sausal 2002 Old Vine Zinfandel

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Big and bold, from vines that are old.

Before heading to a recent dinner party, I selected a bottle of wine from my private stash to present as a gift to our hosts. (It's funny how easily a simple turn of phrase can take on such a grandiose sound when writing about wine. My system for private wine collection management works like this: Go to the six-bin wire rack, look at each label to remember what's there, and find one that seems like an appropriate selection for the recipient.)

The bottle I selected was the Sausal 2002 Old Vine Zinfandel from Alexander Valley in California. In this particular case, “Old Vine” means that the vines are between fifty and sixty years old, which is plenty of age to make for a rather nice wine. This wine in particular is no exception; this is a type that I tend to revisit a few times per year. Not being especially common at stores in Columbus, I thought it might make for an appropriate gift, something probably unfamiliar but worth getting to know.

Shortly after we arrived, the pre-dinner ritual began. Naturally, this begins with transportation of steaks from the refrigerated zone to the macho zone of the grill. And we're not talking about eight ounces of filet, but huge steaks, rather like some of Fred Flintstone's Brontosaurus steaks. Men stand about outside, huddled over a flaming grill. It's about as raw-male as one could hope for, except that we might have managed too much elegance by sipping vodka martinis. Well, whatever. The job got done and it was fun to send smoke signals to the rest of the neighborhood.

Our host opted to serve the bottle we brought to go with dinner. My guess was correct: the wine was unfamiliar but sufficiently intriguing to give it a try. As it was poured, I remembered all of the reasons why I keep returning for another bottle of this wine. Its color is a lovely darkish purple-tinted ruby; the aroma that follows it is no surprise, fruity—ripe blackberry. It's a big wine, full-bodied and again fruity on the palate; very nice to drink, interesting finish, and a taste that lingers beyond. It isn't one that I would drink alone, but with a flavorful meal, it's fantastic. It paired quite well with the steaks and seemed to be a hit.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2006-07-17 07:16 AM
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