Friday, September 19, 2014
Rattle Them Oak Bones With Boneshaker Zinfandel
An unusual blend, the 2012 Boneshaker is made from Lodi grapes, 88% Zinfandel and and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. It retails for $19.
The two things that make the Boneshaker ride so memorable are alcohol and oak. 15% alcohol content is a little more than I usually like in a wine unless it's a Port, and in that case I want a little more. Boneshaker also spends over a year in French oak barrels, 70% of which are new. A barrel made of new oak leaves its mark on a wine much more forcefully than does a barrel that has been used before. The back label encourages us to "Feel It," so here goes.
This deep ruby wine sports a great nose. Stick your nose into the glass and you get enough black pepper to prompt a sneeze. Very dark fruit - blackberry, black cherry, plum - is mated with some fairly forceful oak effect that shoves a toasty barrel stave right into your face. Not that that's a bad thing, if that's what you like. The palate goes down the same tree-lined path, with big sweet fruit, big sweet oak and big sweet tannins. Big is the operative word here, and that may actually fall short as a descriptor.
If I say Boneshaker Zinfandel is oaky to a fault, you could say, "Great!" if you like your Zinfandel to sprout acorns. Of course, you might also say, "Too much oak is a fault!" To which fans of the wine could respond, "Not if it's on purpose!" or some such witticism. Hopefully a discourse of this nature won't degrade into a war of "Is too!" and "I know you are but what am I!" and "Mom, he's hitting me with the barrel stave again!"
Despite my predisposition against a wine this oaky, I can't help but admit it was fun to drink. I think of it as the wine equivalent of eating candy instead carrots - a guilty pleasure.
The nice folks at Hahn Family Wines say Boneshaker is great when paired with a roast porchetta sandwich or Texas style chuck chili, although both of those dishes may be hard to handle while riding a wrought iron bicycle.
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