2013 James & Bell Zinfandel

2013 James & Bell Zinfandel, California, USA.

2013 James & Bell Zinfandel, Lodi, California, USA.

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2012 Baron Cooper Old Vine Zinfandel

If you having been reading Notes this summer, you may recall that a percentage of sales from this Baron Cooper Old Vine Zin, produced by the folks at Tamura Vineyard in Lodi, go to Best Friends Animal Society. Two of my favorite things in this life are good wines and dogs. When you can help change the lives of dogs while drinking, you’re doing just fine.

2012 Old Vine Zinfandel, Tamara Vineyards' Baron Cooper Wines, Lodi, California, USA.

2012 Old Vine Zinfandel, Tamura Vineyards’ Baron Cooper Wines, Lodi, California, USA.

The 2012 comes from winemaker Greg Burns, and its cooperage is American Oak. That’s me doing some research for you, readers; I actually can’t taste the oak here myself. Instead, I have all kinds of smooth, juicy berry flavors on my palate. There is strawberry and blackberry to be sure, and just a little bit of spice that is textbook Zinfandel. Some pepper, too. It’s a medium red in your glass and very even in its taste.

Tonight the Baron accompanies steaks (grilled in the cover of rain and darkness) and yellow beans, and the wine holds its own. It’s just a bit lighter than a Cab but makes up for that in cheery and cherry goodness and that spice kick in your mouth.

I do not know Catherine Fallis by name or reputation, but as Master Sommelier for Planet Grape, you should know that she gave 97 points to this 2012 Baron Cooper Zinfandel. I’m just going to tell you that it’s a great drink, and you’d do well–and help better the lives of dogs–if you picked up a bottle or two of this affordable wine. You’ll thank me.

2013 Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay

This is the second Noble Vines wine we’ve had in recent weeks, this one a white–not a frequent Saturday night beverage in our house but one to which we both surrendered this evening.  In the interest of time I’ll explain that the 446 originates from the San Bernabe AVA, one termed the “cool climate Monterey” by the winemaker.

Your label on the 446 gives simple instructions – “Enjoy with grilled fish, chicken or pasta with creamy sauces.” And we did. Tuna steaks, so fresh and tender, we had alongside orzo pasta, peas, and asparagus. The pasta and vegetables were a contrast in styles and tastes, intertwining hot and cool elements into a great accent for the fish.

2013 Nobel Vines 446 Chardonney, Monterey, California, USA.

2013 Nobel Vines 446 Chardonney, Monterey, California, USA.

Fresh citrus is the best way, in my limited vocabulary and experience with whites, that I can describe the 2013 vintage of the 446. It doesn’t have a “buttery” taste to it, and in that way is similar to the Simi that we had not too long ago.  In Notes for both I find myself struggling for specifics, for nuances that help differentiate among California Chardonnays and am determined to improve on my palate so as to offer more useful advice on whites in the future.

This is not that occasion, though, so let me close simply by saying it brought a smile to my face to know we both were giving a go to the 446 on this sultry Summer evening. Hoping you and yours had a good Saturday too!

2012 Baron Cooper Old Vine Zinfandel

The Cooper Zinfandel caught my eye, not because it’s named for the winemaker’s support of rescue animals (which I wholeheartedly applaud), but because its original description in my email inbox sounded perfectly attuned to my tastes in wine. That being said, Baron Cooper is a Manchester Terrier that the Habashi Family adopted from their local Humane Society, and a percentage of its sales go to Best Friends Animal Society. Good idea and a good wine.

2012 Baron Cooper Wines Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, USA.

2012 Baron Cooper Wines Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, USA.

Our rescue is a hound retriever mix, and he’s eying me right now as I think about this 2012 Zinfandel from the Tamura Vineyard. I have several of these delicious bottles ready to go, and the first I enjoyed with pork chops and a mixed green salad. Apples, blue cheese, and candied walnuts helped bring the salad round, and citrus pepper seasoning did much the same for the chops. We’re on a good grilling streak right now, having cooked up pork chops, salmon, and steaks all with just the right temperature and timing.

I’ll leave some of the wine tasting notes for the next entry on the 2012 Baron Cooper Zinfandel. For now, let me just share with you that it’s rich, it’s got some pepper notes, and it’s got some great flavor that starts slowly. Its dark berries sit for a moment but ultimately come shining through as you sip it contentedly. Stay tuned for further updates and thanks as always for your readership of Notes.