Zinfandel aficionados love the character of wines from the Sierra Nevada foothills of Amador County. This is the second time we have selected a wine from Damas Vineyards, the first being the 2004 vintage. On the nose, aromas of blackberry jam and black raspberry mix with notions of chocolate, toffee, brown sugar and spice. The texture is lighter than you might expect, with fruit flavors of black plum, dark cherry and blackberry. In the mix, intriguing hints of anise seed, chocolate, clove and cinnamon reveal themselves.
Red raspberry, black plum, black cherry, toffee, brown sugar and conifer.
The Damas Vineyard was planted in 1998 at approximately 2,000 feet elevation in Amador County, in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. The vineyard has 1,250 Zinfandel vines and occupies an area of about two acres. Some older vines remain and date to 1868. They are thought to have been planted by the legendary Count Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman known as the father of Californian viticulture. The vineyard slope is shaped like an amphitheater, facing southwest, in the relatively tiny Fiddletown appellation (population 100), about an hour's drive east of Sacramento. Damas means "ladies" in Spanish, but it is also an acronym made up of the initials of the vineyard founders, Deborah and Mara and their dog, Scooter.
Given that it's summer grilling season, I cannot think of a more dynamite food pairing than my recipe for Carmelized Onion-Zin Burgers with Cheddar Cheese Fricos. A terrific wine, a wonderful pairing and an honorable salute to summer especially when served alongside my Radicchio Slaw with Warm Honey Vinaigrette or my recipe for Sally's Potato Salad. Or perhaps both...Bravo!
Count Agoston Haraszthy was the first Hungarian to move permanently to America. He was literate in 16 languages, including the language of wine.
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