brazin (b)old vine zinfindel 2008, lodi

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brazin (b)old vine zinfindel 2008, lodi

COST: $17-$19

WHAT: What a beautiful, rich, smooth wine this is. Everything about it makes it easy to drink, from the opening aromas of black fruit and spices to the dark plum and cocoa flavors that roll around your mouth. Acidity and tannins are well-balanced, leading to a complex, lingering finish.

Even though it is 15 percent alcohol, the wine doesn't have that hot, overblown taste some Zinfandels have. Everything is in balance.

The grapes come from older, head-trained Zinfandel vineyards that range from 40 to 100 years old in Lodi, the heart of Zinfandel country. Many of the best Zinfandels made come from Lodi, where the combination of sandy soils, Mediterranean-type climate and nights cooled by Pacific Ocean breezes leads to small berries. These berries are packed with intense, complex flavors that make beautiful wine.

The wine is 100 percent Zinfandel. After cool fermentation it spends seven months in French and American oak.

WINERY: Brazin is owned by DFV Wines, a large, family-owned company that has been around for more than 80 years. DFV produces wines under eight labels, each with distinct characteristics.

One of the hallmarks of DFV Wines is clever marketing, and Brazin is no exception. From the name itself, to clever word play about (B)Old Vines to the back label that has a warning sign that says the contents are "dangerously good," the message is clear that this is an in-your-face wine.

Luckily, the wine delivers on its bold promise. Brazin makes only Zinfandel, and they do it well.

DFV is owned by the Indelicato family. The Brazin Zin represents a collaboration of two iconic Lodi families, the Indelicatos and the Cusamanos. Italian immigrant Gaspare Indelicato worked with friend and fellow Lodi grower Mickey Cusamano, who farmed a 40-acre, head-trained Zinfandel vineyard.

The Cusamano family still farms that vineyard today, and its grapes are the backbone of the Brazin Lodi Zinfandel.

Head-trained vines do not use wire trellises but are widely spaced and free standing. This Old World technique produces fewer berry clusters and smaller berries, but they are packed with dark and intense flavors. All of the grapes in Brazin Zinfandels come from head-trained vineyards.

GOES WITH: I had it with homemade pizza and again with braised beef ribs. Both were spectacular. Some Zins can be difficult to pair with food, but this wine was made with hearty foods in mind. It would go well with grilled meat, hard cheese or pasta with tomato sauce and Italian sausage.

WINE EVENTS

Thursday

Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m., Veritas at La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; taste four wines and three tapas, $19.99

Tasting, 6 p.m., Malibu Jack's Surf Grill, 231 Furys Ferry Road in Furys Ferry Station, $15, (706) 724-1442 for reservations

Tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, three white and three red wines with cheeses, $4 with rebate on purchase of bottle of the featured wines

FRIDAY

Tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road

Tasting, 7:30 p.m., Wine World, featuring wines of Argentina presented by the Tasters Guild, $29 members, $35 others; (803) 279-9522

SATURDAY

Tasting, 1-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road

FEB. 25

Tasting, 7 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, featuring French wines with Debra Lewis, who will discuss artisan wines from the major appellations in France.


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