In my latest look at widely distributed wines that are moderately priced and worth your consideration, I review Carnivor Zinfandel 2019. Carnivor Wines is a Gallo Winery Inc. label produced in Modesto, California. Carnivor uses Zinfandel grapes sourced from warm-weather vineyards in Lodi, California. Their winemakers give these grapes a brief cold soak to coax extra color and tannins from them. The must is fermented at a warm 88-90F. The wine is aged in French and American oak to soften its tannins and balance its structure. Finally, the Zinfandel is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, adding color and structure plus some Merlot to impart a softened character.
Carnivor Zinfandel 2019 is balanced on a medium body and a smooth finish. Nothing about this wine is overwhelming whether it be the aromas of toasted oak, the flavor of blackberries, tamed acidity, or a controlled finish. Everything about this wine is designed to be bold but not offend the mainstream red wine drinker. Priced at well below $13 a bottle this wine deserves serious attention when you are scanning the shelves for a dependable “everyday” wine that will please a wide range of palates. Carnivor Zinfandel 2019 pairs well with all red meat, after all, Carnivor’s tagline, is “Meat was made for Carnivor” but red meat isn’t the only thing it pairs well with. It is also a good wine to drink with your pizza or any dish that features a hearty dark red tomato sauce. The winemakers at Carnivor must be commended for producing a wine of this quality for a bargain price and doing it on such a large scale.
This year has certainly been a stressful and unnerving time for everyone. Our dependable way of life has been thrown into chaos with no foreseeable return to normalcy anytime soon. Traditional Thanksgiving festivities will be adapted to conform to the pandemic protocols just like every other holiday or event had to do in 2020. Since our Thanksgiving dinners will hopefully be celebrated with a smaller gathering of friends and family then why shouldn’t we treat ourselves with good wine?
A Chardonnay with a touch of oak will stand up to all the flavor profiles of a family-style turkey dinner. My choice for a Chardonnay with all the right characteristics is Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay 2018. This California Chardonnay shows well in the glass with an alluring straw color and aromas of oak, apple, and vanilla. It has a good structure that supports flavors of apple, pear, melon, and, citrus that are accentuated by its medium acidity.
Often you need a red wine as a counterpoint to the white wine you are serving your guests. Saldo Zinfandel 2018 by the Prisoner Wine Company will accent your table with its beautiful ruby color and notes of oak. The flavors of dark fruit on a balanced bold body, supple tannins, and mouthwatering acidity are certain to please your red wine lovers. TIP: Decant before serving.
For me, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without a Riesling on the table. If you have read my blog then it is no secret that I like Finger Lakes Riesling but they can be hard to find. The two wines I have recommended are substantially above the price point I tend to cover so when I need to buy multiple bottles I have found this Washington State Riesling to be a great pick to fill that need. My go-to Washington Riesling for value and taste is Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling 2019. This Riesling is made in a very approachable style that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. It is easy to drink with crisp acidity and flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, and peach. The price point is in the $10-$14 range.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and please stay safe.
From Pittsburgh’s East End the Bridges Wine Company will be bringing their wines to the Pittsburgh Public Market, 2401 Penn Ave. in the Strip District for the next two weekends. Get a taste of what Bridges Wine has to offer on Saturday March 14th & 21st from 9-5 and Sunday March 15th & 22nd from 10-4. The newly released 2014 Washington Moscato will be available for $15 along with the Bridges 2012 Pinot Noir and 2012 Zinfandel. James and Rebecca McCeney will also be offering special discounts on multiple bottle purchases.
I will use the next few posts to look at light bodied wines that I believe would be good choices for your summer outings. I like the lighter wines for warm weather entertaining because they are easy to drink and allow you to enjoy the company of friends and family without having to worry about what wines to serve. Beringer Red Moscato 2011 fits nicely into this category by being light with fresh fruit flavors and a floral aroma. It is a little sweet but often described as “not too sweet or not too dry with a smooth refreshing finish”. This deep scarlet colored Moscato is produced in Argentina from a blend of Moscato, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes and bottled in the Napa Valley of California. I don’t think you will be disappointed if you take this one with you to the park for an evening concert under the stars.
Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermenting in a wine cave in Amador County, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Perry Creek Zinman Zinfandel El Dorado 2007 is grown and produced in the El Dorado AVA within the Sierra Foothills region of California. Best described as a luscious cherry and raspberry beginning with a peppery finish. This wine is very easy to drink and is very versatile with a wide range of food from pizza and burgers to grilled steak. Wine Enthusiast rated at 88 points makes this one you should consider for a summer gathering that includes grilling and friends. PA L.C.B. product code 20908.