#NWTW: Zinfandel with BBQ Chicken

#NWTW: Zinfandel
(New Wine This Week) is fun, but it does involve working on a deadline.  If I don’t finish by Sunday evening, I’m out of luck until the next wine and the next week!  This week: Zinfandel.  It isn’t new to many American households, but I’ll happily share my experience with my buds across the pond.

Bedrock zinfandel chicken barbecue bbq

The first thing I think of with Zinfandel is “watch out!”  Zinfandel seems to come in two very distinct flavor profiles.  The most popular Zins offer up loads of raisiny ripe fruit, plenty of oak, and high alcohol levels.  Wow, they’re powerful and ripe; many people love them, but they’re just too much for me.  The best tip-off for these wines are the catchy names like: Gnarly Head, 7 Deadly Zins, Cardinal Zin, etc…

There are Zinfandels that follow a different path, they offer briary dark fruit, but avoid raisiny flavors and super high alcohol levels.  Look for names like Ridge, Ravenswood and Bedrock. Joel Peterson was the founder of Ravenswood and one of the leaders in American Zinfandel for many years.  Today, his son Morgan Twain Peterson carries on the torch with his Bedrock label, and his Zinfandels are among my favorites.  Morgan has a special interest in saving old California plantings of historic varieties.  Many of his wines are Zinfandel or historic field blends featuring a high percentage of Zinfandel.  Our wine today comes from the Sodini vineyard in the Russian River valley.

Zinfandel intro

Bedrock Zinfandel from old vines in the Russian Rivery Valley

Food Pairing with Zinfandel
Food pairings don’t need to be fancy recipes.  Zinfandel goes well with everything on the grill, and especially with sweet barbecue sauces and foods with a bit of sweetness.  Today I decided to test how Zin would pair with grilled chicken.  Ribs sure, but chicken?  Would it work?

The verdict?  Absolutely!  Even with a restrained, serious Zin like the Bedrock, the wine has a level of sweet fruit that pairs beautifully with both the sweet barbecue sauce on the chicken, and also the mashed butternut squash & parsnips we had on the side.  The grilled veggies were good but didn’t add or subtract from the pairing.

Natural partners for Zinfandel

Natural partners for Zinfandel

Bedrock Sodini Zinfandel 2012 ($35 from the winery by mail)
eye: blue purple edge with opaque center.  deep and dark
nose: Spice, pepper and blue fruit, a bit of smoke
mouth: Rich sweet blue/black fruit with medium tannins. Not jammy at all.

Bedrock Sodini Zinfandel

Bedrock Zinfandel from the Sodini Vineyard


Interested in joining in on #NWTW?  The new wine is announced every Monday at one of these two blogs.  Join us!


2 Responses to “#NWTW: Zinfandel with BBQ Chicken”
  1. Sounds fantastic Jeff, it’s 7.27am as I’m reading this and your photos just make me want BBQ chicken right now!

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