Wood Family 2018 Zinfandel “Big Wood Zin” – When the Meal Requires Zinfandel

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Starting off the afternoon around 4 pm, my wife let me know a Louisiana Jambalaya was on the docket for dinner. Started thinking about what wine to pair and I was a bit befuddled. Then did a little research and believed the consensus was Zinfandel. Then the beads of sweat appeared on my brow as I did not believe we had any Zinfandel in the cellar!  Now it is not an issue of whether I like Zinfandel or not, but many folks in our community do enjoy Zinfandel and regularly bring it to dinner.  That said Zinfandel is also not one of my go to wines either, with lots of choices in the cellar of many different and unique red wines.

I looked in the log book and to my amazement I actually found a whopping 4 bottles of Zinfandel, from four different wineries.  The one selected, as I remembered was a filler on a case procurement from Wood Family Winery about 6-8 week ago. Seemed like I enjoyed it at a tasting so mentioned to the GM, throw a bottle in to round out the case of wine. Logged it into the computer but obviously I had forgotten all about it. Turned out I was more than delighted to have found this “lost treasure”.

The meal recipe called for Creole seasoning, skinless boneless chicken thighs, cooked Andouille sausage links, red bell peppers, chopped white onion & celery stalks, minced garlic, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, long grain rice and sliced scallions. For good measure she added some dry red chili flakes for additional “heat”! All of this was cooked in a slow cooker for six hours.

The Zinfandel was amazing with the dinner. First on the eyes, it was opulent dark red and medium-heavy viscosity. On the nose, blackberry and boysenberry were the first aromas discovered. Then on the palate, is where this wine stood apart from so many “Amador fruit booms” as they are called and profoundly available in the Sierra foothills. Here spices of cinnamon, vanilla, herbal qualities and a dusty earthiness develop while moving about in the mouth. Definitely fruit forward with flavor but not “syrupy”. The wine presented other notes of chocolate and mocha. The softer tannins were a welcome treat to the “heat of the meal”. The finish was long lasting and with the various fruits which again counter balanced the spiciness of the meal.

This is one of the two Zinfandels that the Wood Family Vineyards offers. The “Big Wood” is 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah. 700 cases were produced and it has a high 16.8% alcohol level. The “Big Wood” Zinfandel currently sells for $34/bottle per their website.

I am heading down to Livermore this week and will stop by to get a “few bottles” of the “Big Wood” as we seem to be having more and more spicy meals. The Wood Family Zinfandel is a beautiful match for these occasions.






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