It was getting close to the end of the meal and of the wine tastings as well. I may say that The Caller was a real trouper, as he was under the weather, but he still came out for the evening, even though he could not really enjoy any of the wines, and unfortunately I am not sure how much he could really enjoy the meal, though his wife made the most of the meal and the evening. He was still capable of reveling in some of the dinners that they had away from us, and we agreed that we have to get together soon for some meals and good times.
The last of the wines from the wine tastings was a dessert wine. The Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port NV was a wine that I was looking forward to trying, but my Bride had some apprehension. As I have slowly come to appreciate some Zinfandels, she still finds them to be too jammy and overpowering, though I did mention the Zin that I had, that she has not had the chance to try, that was aged in Bourbon barrels, and she seemed alright with that description. Since I find Zinfandel to be on the sweeter side, I could see how it could become a Port style wine. One thing I did notice is that the bottle did not mention “old vines,” but since they have the Deaver Vineyard that was originally planted in 1881, there are some very old vines there. Also to do Port style wines the grapes must be late picked, which would make the sugar concentration even higher and though the wine starts off the same way, the winemaker then stops the fermentation by the addition of a “brandy” which fortifies the wine. Then this wine is stored in barrels, in this case French, American and Hungarian barrels, and then this is where the fun begins, this wine is produced by the “Solera” system that is the heart and soul of the Sherry industry. To explain it in a simple manner, one has three barrels of the fortified wine from three different vintages, as some wine is removed from the oldest barrel, the next oldest barrel has the equivalent amount of wine removed and placed in the first barrel, and then the third barrel does the same for the second barrel. As a result the wine by nature is non-vintage and the winemaker can create a consistent type of “Port” each and every year by the blending of the wines.
The wine that we tasted showed richness and layered wine that I do feel was enhanced, because it was made from the Zinfandel grape. It had the darkness and density of a newly bottled “Port,” because as a fortified wine, the wine ages very slowly in the bottle and hence it can be very long lived, which would even give it more nuance and layers. I have to admit that I was very impressed with the wine, and the fact that it was paired with a Chocolate Pistachio Truffle and they were both so harmonious, was another bonus. As with all evenings, especially in the company of The Caller, the evening ended much too early, but we look forward to many more evening with them.