Melanie Hoffman

Happy New Year, I hope it was enjoyable and safe for everyone.

Zinfandel and Zin blends are some of my favorite rainy day wines. I picked a couple to talk about this week that are not only tasty but priced for your everyday wallet.

Foppiano Vineyards is best known for their Petite Sirahs. In my opinion, Bill Regan crafts a rocking Zinfandel as well. Not overly peppery, or too high in alcohol; very food friendly and friendly to the chef while the meal is being prepared. I know I love a glass of wine right next to the stove for sipping as I whip up something fabulous.

Foppiano Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, $15.00 ~ Rich raspberry aromas upfront. Added vanilla, cedar and a touch of peppermint in the nose. Earthy close to the bouquet with hints of freshly ground nutmeg. Palate follows nose with more raspberry jam. Even and smooth flavors with a nice structure. Black pepper spice reveals itself mid-palate and lasts to the bright pomegranate finish. An excellent wine in aroma and flavor.

A great rainy day wine with the comfort of a warm bowl of bread crumb encrusted and baked white cheddar fusilli.

The Sebastianis have created a red blend that is indeed a sultry California red. Hey Mambo is a blend of Barbera, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Carignane and Alicante Bouchet. A complicated sounding blend that couldn’t be more effortless on the palate.

An added feature to this wine is that it’s one of the first to sport the new Zork cork. Similar to the screwcap in that you don’t need anything other than your hands to open the bottle. The difference is the Zork cork has a neat feature: it creates the popping sound that happens when you pull the cork out of the bottle, keeping the romance of celebrating wine alive.

Hey Mambo, Sultry California Red | Bistro Style Wine $8.99 ~ Earthy nose exhibits rose hips and juicy cherries. A hint of smoky meat from the Syrah with added leather and cocoa aromas. Smooth palate offers ample fruit: vibrant cherry, raspberry and plum. Subtle oak flavors and a long lingering blackberry finish. The kind of red that makes you smile and say “mmm, yummy.”

Enjoy with sautéed chicken and porcini mushrooms in a cream sauce. Add fresh parsley, chives, about a tablespoon of marinara and a splash of dry vermouth while cooking. Put on a bed of linguini and garnish with freshly grated parmesan for a decadent delight.