Divine Wine Sunday: Tobin James 2009 Ballistic Zinfandel

As previously noted, I fall easy for a bottle of wine with a good label… And the wines of Tobin James Winery do not disappoint.   All of their bottles are brightly colored with their signature sun logo.  When I visited their winery last November, they had little sun patches that they gave out with the tasting… and for some reason, that easy little marketing delighted me to no end.  (I’d be the worst test case for marketing… would find any silly thing kinda fun.)  But I digress.

While I’m drawn to wines of any winery that I’ve visited, this winery is full of tasty wines at a nice variety of price ranges.  Today’s post, however, is about their Zinfandel. Now, I have to admit, I have not often picked up Zinfandels.  I’m not totally sure why, but I think it is because I had only had very fruity Zins.  But my Paso Robles visit gave me a new (and improved!)  perspective on Zinfandels and I’ve been enjoying a fine variety since!

Divine Wine of the Week: Tobin James 2009 Ballistic Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California

Price Range: $13.99 at Costco, $18.00 from Tobin James Winery

Wino Assessment…

This wine had a big fruity flavor to start.  I’d describe it as a peppery cherry kind of flavor… but instead of finishing off with that heavy fruit, it finished almost soft and smooth.  It was like a little treat for the wine to finish off so smoothly after such boldness to start.  So, clearly, I really enjoyed it!

The Wine…

Tobin James’s website says that their Ballistic Zin has “Layers ‘n Layers of juicy Zin flavors.”  Not exactly a detailed description, but sometimes brevity is best.  And that about sums it up!  I picked up this bottle at Costco, and their description on the shelf read:

“The fruit aromatics are fresh, with raspberry taking the lead. Characteristic notes of pepper add to the complexity, the well judged use of oak allows the fruit to take center stage.”

Umm… can I just say that I’m pretty excited that I used the word “peppery” in my description.  And then found that Costco also described it this way?!   Note, that I probably did read the description when I picked up the bottle a few weeks back – so maybe that word was stuck in my sub-conscious, but either way, I feel like all my Wine Know studying is starting to pay off. (And yes, I realize my fruit descriptor wasn’t quite as spot on, but hey… cherry vs. raspberry… in a wine, is it really all that different!?!)

Anyway, the take-away here is that this Zinfandel is tasty and delicious… and very reasonably priced!

The Bite…

As some of you saw in my recent blog announcement, I picked up a couple of new wine books recently and have really been enjoying them!  So tonight, when spicy beef tacos were on the at-home dinner menu, I went to my trusty new book, Wine, Food, and Friends, to see what Karen MacNeil, the author, would pair with a spicy dish. One little tip in this book states that “dishes with bold, spicy, hot flavors are perfectly cut out for bold, spicy wines.  This is one reason why many Tex-Mex dishes work so well with zinfandels…”.  So basically, this sentence was why I pulled out the one Zin I had in my wine fridge to accompany my spicy beef tacos.  And indeed, the peppery but smooth Zin was delightful with the spicy beef and sriracha sauce.

So if you’re picking up a bottle of Zinfandel, it is likely to be a big, fruity wine… and therefore, should go well with your favorite tacos or burritos or other spicy delights. Hell, if you like sriracha like I do, you may just want to pour a little bit of that sauce in a dish and a glass of Zin and call it a night!

Happy Sunday, Winos!  May your week be peppery and fruity – seems like a nice balance for wine, and for life!

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