Tue 2 Sep 2008
Here’s a big-hearted, two-fisted zinfandel cut from the old cloth. The Rodney Strong Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2006, Sonoma County, draws grapes from an estate vineyard in the Russian River Valley whose vines go back to 2004, along with grapes from vineyards in the Alexander Valley. The oak treatment is judicious, 10 months in barrels, 71 percent American, 29 percent French. The wine contains one percent petite sirah. At 14.8 percent, the alcohol seems almost tame compared to zinfandels that come in at 16 percent or more.
By “cut from the old cloth,” I mean that this is an old-fashioned rollicking, heady zinfandel with loads of personality. The wine is drenched in black currant, blueberry and boysenberry flavors that start out tasting spiced and macerated — the wine is packed with spice — and then take on roasted and fleshy qualities. And then take on permeations of fruit cake, with its sense of soaked-in richness, dried citrus fruit and baking spices. The wine is dense and chewy, generously proportioned and a little single-minded. No, friends, this wine is not about elegance and finesse and refinement; it’s about boldness and exuberance, and it requires bold and exuberant food to match it, say barbecue brisket or smoked ribs or grilled pork chops with a Southwestern-style rub, though we drank this with pizza topped with applewood-smoked bacon, basil, radicchio, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and red onions. Very good+. About $20.