I’m leaving for Turkey tomorrow morning, so this is the last post I will make with an Arizona wine for a short time: I *may* examine one or two Turkish Wines on the blog just to keep my skills honed, but we’ll see. It may be a full fledged Vacation.
Anyway, enough about me, we’re here for wine. I’d also like to make a shout-out to Students of Wine, a new wine education group, who were kind enough to have me teach a lecture on Arizona wine, thanks to help from Hidden Track Bottle Shop, in downtown Phoenix. Check them out on Facebook. I recorded the secure as a podcast so it will be posted here eventually.
The Wine: The 3 is 100% Zinfandel, from Cochise County, from 2012. Rob Hammelman hasn’t had a chance to get back to me on oaking regimen or source vineyards yet (understandably so, as the last of the pick from Rhumb Line Vineyard is coming in), but I will update as that information becomes available. If I had to guess, I would say that there was definitely oak, and my hunch is American or Hungarian oak was used. As for vineyards, my hunch is either Hammelman’s estate vineyard or Golden Rule, leaning towards the former. It’s potent for an Arizona red, at 15.5% alcohol, putting it on the same level as many zins from Lodi… yet the color is somewhat lighter than this wine’s California brethren.
Nose: Despite the high alcohol, this isn’t noticeable on the palate. There’s a distinct oaky aroma, intermingled with jammy blackberry, cherries, cedar, nutmeg, and allspice. Chocolate and frankincense notes emerge after this wine has been open for a time.
Palate: This is a full-bodied Zinfandel, on par with the nature of Lodi. Strong cedar notes intermingle with cherry, cassis, and more berry jam. It also makes me think a little bit of some of those red Jolly Ranchers. The finish is long, lasting for 41 seconds, and is filled with smoke, spice, and just enough tannins to make me think this could easily be decanted for 20 minutes.
Pairing: My friends and I actually paired this wine with slow-roasted eggplant covered with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, so a vegetarian pairing seems perfect for this wine (use the Daiyu cheese if you want to go vegan). For a carnivorous pairing, go with a pot roast! You want something pretty big to go with this wine, I think.
Impressions: I don’t encounter a Zin I like very often, though Rob has done two for two; the Z was pretty good also. It’s the closest thing Arizona has to a Lodi Zin, but it’s much better, more subtle, and more interesting. It’s also going to age well for another decade, I suspect.
This Zinfandel is big, masculine, and loud. Boisterous, he is prone to reciting old drinking songs he learned overseas while in the Navy.