Wine Review: 2015 California Zinfandel, Carnivor

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Carnivor makes some seriously good wine.

They only produce two varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. I tried the Cab over the summer and it was stupendous so naturally, when the Zinfandel appeared on the shelf, I had to to bring it home.

This is a deep, dark, complex Zin that will make you fill your glass more than once. It’s also 14.5% alcohol so hallucinations are possible, likely even.

Chocolate, vanilla, oak, toasted almond (and grapes, don’t forget grapes) this wine is sooo good, I literally did not care that I was seeing double and probably slurring my words while attempting to maintain an intelligent conversation with our house guest.

Carnivor Zinfandel is $12.99 and worth every penny. My advice: buy two.

Unrelated side note: This afternoon Xavier and I took a field trip to Total Wine in Leesburg, VA. I’ve never been to a Total Wine before and now I see what all the fuss is about. Total Wine is the most dangerous store ever…ever.

With unprecedented restraint, we left with only four bottles and, as a special bonus, we found a super cool abandoned house on the way home!

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I REALLY wanted to get closer to this house but the fence with the big No Trespassing sign advised against it.

Wine Review: 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Loft

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Well friends, the time has come to explore some new boxes. Enter, 2013 Loft Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi, California. Loft is the most expensive boxed wine at my neighborhood shop, weighing in at $22.00 and 13.8% alcohol.

While the website is a little vague as to which Lodi vineyards the Loft grapes are coming from, the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is good.

This is a jammy Cabernet Sauvignon, lots of fruit and not much oak. Despite the fact that I capital “L” Love oak, I still thought this Cabernet was pretty good. The product of cool temperature wine-making, Loft has produced a nicely balanced Cab featuring black fruit, vanilla, and spice.

Make no mistake, there is no other single bottle of wine that could be bought for $5.50 that would rival this 4 bottle box of wine for $22. Environmental and pocket book friendly, this is why I love the boxes.

When you’re just trying to get through the week, it’s boxed wine to the rescue!

Wine Review: 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel, Old Zin Vines – Lodi, CA

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Us poor and unfortunate people who live in Maryland are not able to buy wine at grocery stores. Instead, packaged alcoholic beverages can only be sold at state regulated liquor stores. That being said, you could literally spit in any direction and hit a state regulated liquor store so scarcity is not the problem.

The problem is that, with a few exceptions, they all have the same stuff. Every store store carries the usual suspects when it comes to wine. They all have Cupcake and Black Box, Menage A’ Trois, Dark Horse, and Beringer. You know, the brands I usually review.

Stores like Trader Joe’s are renowned for their excellent, yet inexpensive, wine selection but Trader Joe’s is not allowed to sell packaged liquor in the state of Maryland. On this weekend, Xavier and I decided to take a field trip to Trader Joe’s in Virginia to see what all the wine-fuss was about.

We bought two bottles. One was a Sauvignon Blanc with an alluring description but that turned out to be pretty bad. (or maybe I just don’t like Sauvignon Blanc). The other was this bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel from Old Zin Vines. At $10.99 it was on the more expensive end of the Trader Joe’s price spectrum but absolutely worth every penny and the two hour round trip. For the time invested, I wish we had bought more than one bottle.

Visitors to the website OldZinVines.com will see that it is a brand owned and operated by Oak Ridge Winery.  Incidentally, Oak Ridge Winery is also the creator of one of my other favorite wines, Old Soul Pinot Noir.

Old Zin Vines Zinfandel is, without a doubt, one of the best wines I have tried. It is fer-damn delicious and everything on the label is true, which is unusual to say the least.

This jammy elixir of raspberry, milk chocolate and mocha is silky smooth and disappears very quickly.  Like being overwhelmed by the cuteness of a kitten, it is not even fair how good this wine is.

Self-control = 0

Wine = 1

If you too have driven over an hour to get to Trader Joe’s, don’t sell yourself short by coming home with only one bottle of Old Zin Vines Zinfandel.


Wine Review: 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel, Predator

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On yet another trip to the Frederick Wine Ho(use) to get something else (I think it was 19 Crimes), Xavier asked the sales woman if they carried Old Vine Zin from Oakridge Winery. We thought they might have it since they also carried Old Soul. They did not have, and had not even heard of, the Old Vine Zin but she showed us another Lodi grown Old Vine Zinfandel called Predator.

“It’s smoky and tastes like bacon“, she exclaimed with a level of enthusiasm that meant she wasn’t just making it up. ”

“You had me at ladybug”, I replied.

Clearly, I had to try the wine that tastes like bacon so it became the reason for our next trip to the Frederick Wine Ho.

Predator is a sub-brand of Rutherford Wine Company and they are well known for their sustainability practices that include using natural predators such as lady bugs, instead of harmful pesticides, to control grape eating insects in their vineyards.

 

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While privately hoping that the secret ingredient in this bacon brew was not ladybugs, I could hardly wait to get it home and give it a taste.

To say that Predator Old Vine Zinfandel is smoky and tastes like a bacon is an almost comical understatement. The flavors are quite pronounced and, because of that, it’s a love it or hate it concoction.

Xavier did not like it, at all, but I wasn’t dissuaded.

I really liked it!

Just imagine getting a package of super premium bacon from Keller’s Farm Stores and then loading it up on a George Foreman grill. The scent fills the house and even attracts the neighbors. Don’t overcook the bacon, it doesn’t need to be crisp like jerky, just crispy enough that it has a bit of crunch but retains that juicy/fatty quality that sends the taste buds straight into orgasmic euphoria.

Yep, then pour it in a bottle with a ladybug label and call it Zinfandel.

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Wine Review: 2015 Pinot Noir, Old Soul Vineyards – Lodi, CA

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Yesterday, after wrapping up a fun shopping trip for cactus and gardening supplies at Lowe’s, Xavier says, “Hey, we’re really close to the Frederick Wine Ho”, which is husband-speak for, “I want to go there and buy stuff”, so we did.

Now, the place is actually called Frederick Wine House, but it shows up on my bank statement as Frederick Wine Ho so that has become it’s new unofficial name.

Anyway, a while back we were there to fetch some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Devil’s Locker but, upon entering the store, wine magnets moved my feet in a bee-line to this enchanting bottle of Old Soul Pinot Noir.  I didn’t get it that day but I kept it in the memory banks for future reference.

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Serious question: Is that a tree or a grape vine?

Old Soul Vineyards is actually a sub-brand of a larger company known as Oak Ridge Winery. If you scroll down on this page https://shoporw.vintegrate.com/  you can see all of their brands.

Fun fact: A few weeks ago, Xavier and I took a little road trip out to Trader Joe’s in Reston, VA specifically for the purpose of perusing their wine selection. On that trip we found what turned out to be an excellent Lodi based Zinfandel from Old Vine Zin. A bit of research revealed that Old Vine Zin is also a sub-brand of Oak Ridge Winery.

Old Vine Zin (Old Zin Vine?) will be a post for another day but, sufficed to say, the bottle didn’t last long.

Back to the Old Soul Pinot Noir, which is positively excellent, and not just because of the groovy label…

If dark chocolate and an oak tree got drunk on espresso and had a baby, it would be this wine. Boasting a prominent oak flavor (not unlike Red Velvet from Cupcake) and slightly bitter, though very pleasant, tones of dark chocolate and espresso, this is the kind of wine that makes me want to put a straw in the bottle and refer to the whole thing as “one drink”.  As in, “What?? I only had ONE drink…”

For best results, enjoy by candlelight by the patio on a hot summer evening.

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This is not really part of the wine review but these are the new cacti mentioned at the beginning of this post.