Sun 18 Jan 2009
We had to catch a plane the next day, and of the choices 1. go out to eat, 2. go to the grocery store, or 3. see what’s in the fridge and be creative, LL elected for the last one. She heated what was left of some white bean with red and yellow peppers soup — this is a terrific Sally Schneider recipe that we’ve made many times — and made six little opened-face grilled cheese sandwiches, each with a slice of cherry tomato and a sprinkling of thyme.
I opened a bottle of the Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2006, California.
The Dancing Bull wines have redesigned labels that are a bit more subdued and elegant than the previous bright, rather garish label. The picture of the bull in question has been reduced to an insignia, and the words Rancho Zabaco — Dancing Bull is the second label of Rancho Zabaco, itself a division of E&J Gallo — are found nowhere on the front. The Dancing Bull wines tend to be interesting, if not occasionally slightly odd, blends; the wines seem intended to be soft and approachable while retaining some individual character. The blend on this Zinfandel 2006 is 88.9 percent zinfandel, 4.5 percent petite sirah, 2.4 percent tempranillo, 1.3 percent syrah and 2.9 percent mixed. Ha, I love that! As if the wine were not already pretty mixed! You have to wonder, perhaps with wild surmise, what the hell is in that “2.9 percent mixed.” Sangiovese? Alicante bouchet? Charbono?
Anyway, the Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2006 is dark and robust, directly appealing and quite tasty with spicy and juicy black currant and plum flavors buoyed by lively acidity and an undertow of oak. It’s earthy and a little rooty, with a touch of smoky sassafras, and a closing hint of mulberry and blueberry. The texture is satisfyingly dense and chewy, and while the wine is not complicated or layered, it certainly deserves a Very Good rating and is worth its suggested price of $12, though it can easily be found discounted to $9 or $8.