Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Hooker Blind Side Zinfandel 2010, California

  • Follow Applause

COST: $17-$19

WHAT: Zinfandel is one of my go-to wines that I often try when I am stumped for a food pairing. It usually has enough tannins to stand up to heartier food and enough fruit flavor to match lighter dishes.

The Hooker Blind Side Zinfandel 2010 is a perfect example of the versatility of the wine, and it falls in that under-$20 sweet spot where you can find so many good wines.

This is a nicely complex Zin, inky dark in the glass with plum, blackberry and raspberry aromas. It
has a medium body with layers of flavor that include raspberry, citrus, vanilla and some black pepper on the finish.

Ten months aging in French oak gives the wine some tannins, but they are well-integrated with the fresh fruit to create a rich, full mouthfeel. Everything is in perfect harmony.

The blend is 79 percent Zinfandel, 20 percent Petite Sirah and 1 percent Merlot. The winery produced 1,040 cases.

The wine’s label also has a good story behind it. It takes its name from the pivotal hooker position in rugby. The hooker often handles the ball and has to make quick decisions about whether to run, pass or kick it.

The co-owner of the winery and the father of the other owner both played hooker on college teams, so the name of the wine seemed like a natural.

WINERY: Betsy and David Lawer founded Lawer Family Wines 10 years ago. The winery has several vineyards in Napa and Sonoma.

It concentrates on growing and selecting the best grapes, using The Ranch winery for everything from crush to bottling.

There are three other Hooker wines – Breakaway Chardonnay, Old Boys Cabernet Sauvignon and Home Pitch Syrah. Each is named with a rugby term. Blind Side is named for the blind side flanker, a position that requires a combination of speed and strength.

Lawer Family Wines produces wine under the Three Coins and Duck Shack labels.

The winery also offers vacation rentals in the heart of its vineyards in Calistoga in the northern end of Napa Valley.

GOES WITH: Zinfandel is a versatile wine that I like to pair with American staples because it is a true American wine. So my wife, Teri, and I had the Hooker Zinfandel with pulled pork from a Boston butt I had made.

The peppery Zin was perfect, with the spicy Mumbo Sauce I prefer as well as the slightly sweet Sticky Fingers Teri likes. The dry wine also cuts through the slight amount of grease you get with the pork. We rounded out the meal with baked potatoes, creamed corn and cut fresh veggies, all of which were just fine with the Zin.

It also would go well with lighter meat on the grill, pizza, pasta with tomato sauce and hard cheeses.

The winery recommends a Cioppino made with Alaskan seafood such as halibut, mussels and crab legs, with a sauce that includes red wine.

WINE EVENTS
THURSDAY, JULY 18

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas; $19.99; (706) 722-4805

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites, three reds and cheeses; $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

FRIDAY, JULY 19

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans; several wines, cheese and crackers and live music; $5; (706) 303-8591

SATURDAY, JULY 20

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Lock Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

FRIDAY, AUG. 2

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites, three reds and cheeses; $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

MONDAY, AUG. 5

Wine tasting river cruise, 6-8 p.m., on the Patriot Riverboat, 10 wines and appetizers, $20 advance; (706) 724-1442


Top headlines

MCG student, class buy kids' books for Ferguson library

Three weeks after the Missouri grand jury indictment verdict, Ashee Nicole Sharer created a Ferguson wish list on BarnesAndNoble.com, urging classmates to purchase a book for the Ferguson ...
Search Augusta jobs