Inspiration: A Tale of two zin’s

As I was falling asleep the other night, it dawned on me that I had not blogged in a long time. I do suffer from bloggers block once in a while. For a couple of reasons: 1.) I literally forget to blog 2.) I wonder if anyone really care’s what, I as a novice, thinks about wine and 3.) I haven’t been inspired to write. Lucky for you, I had a weekend of inspiration. For one night, my good buddies and I packed up the car and headed 2 1/2 hours east of  mountains (leaving from Seattle) to our destination: Cave B Winery and Inn. Many people have raved that Cave B (  was an amazing place to stay, so I figured this girls weekend was a must.

Cave B Vineyard

As we pulled in to the Inn, the view of the Gorge was breathtaking and silencing; as was the winery itself. It is difficult to describe the beauty of Cave B – it is one of those wonder’s you have to see for yourself. But we had a fantastic weekend of pampering. Amazing views, a beautiful room, warm weather, great food, decent wine and a nice little vineyard bike jaunt (hard to do when you have been tasting wine all afternoon) is how our weekend went. Oh, and maybe a 90 minute spa thrown in there. It was a night for wine inspiration. I am so thankful my friends Diana and Chris let me drag them away for the night, I am sure they are still annoyed I made them go away for a weekend of relaxing.


Cave B Winery and Inn






Tonight’s Tasting

Buehler and Ghost Pines Zinfandel's

With a night away to rejuvenate my creative flow, I am back and ready to help find a wine to inspire you. I had a couple topic’s on my brain, but decided I have not had a blog on Zinfandels. Forgive me friends, for I have Zinned. No longer will you have to wait, other topic’s on hold and we must Zin tonight!

I love a good, hearty, deep, spicy Zin. People think I am strange for liking Zinfandels so much, since I don’t eat meat. Again people, many red wines pair well with hearty vegetarian dishes… or just by themselves. As I am enjoying one now! Tonight I really wanted to compare Napa Zin’s to Sonoma Zin’s. There is a debate in California as to who makes the best Zinfandels. I tend to go with the thought that Napa produces outstanding Cab’s and Sonoma the big, spicy Zin’s. But with the debate ever-growing strong, I thought I’d see what all this fuss is about.

The wines:

Buehler Vineyards 2008 Zinfandel, St. Helena  $20.99 Wine World

The way I picked this wine out of the ordinary for me – I chose it for the Wine Spectator points. I normally could care less what they think, but felt the need to try a WS recommended wine. They had given the 2007 Zinfandel 90 points. Since Wine World didn’t have the 2007 – I grabbed the 2008. My thoughts:  I have never in my life (possible exaggeration) tasted such a bland, lifeless wine. On the nose all I could sniff was alcohol and cherry. And the taste was the same, except the cherry was stale and the alcohol was pungent. I am not here to criticize a wine, so I will keep my trap shut. Just stay away from the 2008 (2007 and 2009 received 90 points with WS – but 2008 nothing. I can see why) – you will be extremely disappointed and mad for wasting money. There goes my $21 down the drain – literally.

2008 Ghost Pines Zinfandel, Sonoma County $17.99 Wine World

On to Sonoma and please don’t let me down. Thank goodness it has not. Still not a super hearty Zin, but that is ok. The smooth and smokiness make up for that. It feels lighter on my palate than most Zin’s, but I still find myself enjoying this wine. Hints of strawberry, plum and vanilla bean swirl around in my nose. It has a dry, fruit finish with a slight pepper and smoke in the back. I could see how a BBQ King or Queen would love pairing this wine with meats, chicken and pork. You can also pair this with rich, strong cheeses (blue, feta, Stilton), lamb, spicy dishes, sausage or just a fantastic pizza. Zin’s are surprisingly versatile. This wouldn’t be my most favorite Zin, but is one to seek out – especially if you are new to the world of Zin’s.

One hit and one disappointment tonight; that’s not so bad. You can’t have all winners. To be fair though, I should compare the two regions again. However, based on the tonight tasting, I do have to say the Sonoma Zin was delightful and the clear winner. Now you need compare and let me know your thoughts.

Oh and a white Zinfandel doesn’t count. I normally do not judge when it comes to wine. But come on, if you are drinking a white Zin, I can’t help you out.