Posted by: tomciocco | December 16, 2010


Though I’m a self-identifying “old world” wine guy, and likely to remain so, what I like from the famous viticultural zones in North and South America, I like quite a lot. In many cases what I reject is the familiar bugbear of overblown, manipulated wines awkwardly crusted with new oak, but what is just as vexing is the lack of imagination (not) emanating from such a vast swath of the globe so well noted for it in so many other endeavors.

And since so much of the New World so prides itself on being a melting pot as well as a place with room for innovation and re-invention, why do so may of its wineries persist in trying to make “Bordeaux”?!  The answer is as easy and mundane as  m. o. n. e. y.; what’s “known” or can be labelled can more easily sold…so much for the “Brave New World”…

But increasingly, New World wineries are beginning to understand that wines from places like Santa Barbara made from 60% Zinfandel, 24% Carignane, and 16% Sangiovese, weighing in at a very sane 13.8% alcohol, can simultaneously represent (their own) tradition and terroir, while alloying it with a freer, imaginative spin to create truly unique wines.

I poured this really well-conceived and executed wine with nothing more (or less) than cheeseburgers (onions and pickles), fries, and a salad (carrots and cherry tomato). No need for a picture of that…

Santa Barbara Winery “ZCS” California 2008

Slightly dusty brown medium garnet color. Distinctive and layered nose of underbrush, mocha, meat stewed with greens, leather, tomato paste, and crushed berries and Concord grapes. The body of the wine is slightly viscous and medium-full, with sweet cherry and currant fruit flavors, and coffee syrup and gingerbread notes framed by good, grippy tannins and a subtle fresh undertow. Finishes with nice warmth and dried floral flavors.


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