There’s something slightly nostalgic about drinking white zinfandel, the “mistake” of a wine that today is produced en masse and imbibed the nation over by wine drinkers and non-wine drinkers alike. So on the same day that my review of Sutter Home, the birthplace of white zin, was published on American Winery Guide, I thought I’d like to review another take on this wine that I had recently.
Chris Brockway is an artist, a vintner who wants to “let the grapes speak for themselves” as he puts it on his web page. He does this in a variety of ways, from sourcing biodynamic fruit to just not messing with the stuff a whole lot while it ferments. The result is a portfolio of wine that many of my sommelier friends can’t stop raving about — or selling. But still, white zinfandel?
Yes, white zinfandel. The 2015 Sonoma County White Zinfandel was, for me, one part muscle memory for my tongue, one part new experience for my mind. In some ways, it reminded me of the juice that got me hooked on wine, long before I could ever tolerate a massive Napa Cab, but in other ways, it stood out as being artisan and unique, entirely its own wine. A beautiful rose hue and a soft nose of vanilla lead into a palate with sweet undertones that nevertheless remains far drier than any other take on white zin I can remember. 11.5% ABV leaves plenty of room for enjoyment while not overpowering any part of the concoction. Slightly tart toward the finish, the varietal offers a bit of pizzaz that Brockway didn’t remove or dilute, and I love that. Ultimately, this is an easy-drinking wine with a lot of character, yet not at all what one might think of when they think of white zinfandel.
For Omaha natives (and I’ve heard rumor that Brockway himself is one of us) this wine will be poured by the glass at Corkscrew during their Rose’ Week (June 13-19). Whether by the glass or by the bottle, this is a fascinating wine, and a new take on an old friend. 90 points on my scale, and recommended.