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2012 Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel

Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel

Greg gave me a pretty easy assignment this week. His Sweet and Sour Lamb Stew practically paired itself since it’s pretty well known that lamb and Zinfandel are a tried and true combination. But what Zin should I commit?

Being a loyal Californian, I thought I’d start here. Zinfandel thrives in the many microclimates found up and down our coast. I knew I didn’t want to go too far inland or too far south because I didn’t want a “fruit bomb” style Zin that might overpower the rich yet subtle flavors in Greg’s dish. So I ended up in Napa, with the elegant 2012 Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Zinfandel.

A gorgeous scarlet in the glass, the Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel is more of a “claret style” than some of its powerful rustic cousins. Though it boasts ripe dark fruit flavors and a generous level of alcohol the overall impression is really quite light and bright. This owes to the very smooth integrated tannins and sly acidity, which serve to complement the “sour” element in the stew as well as the tomatoes. The “sweet” spot in the stew, the currants, are echoed in the raisiny notes in the wine. A touch of vanilla and sprinkle of spice comes from aging the juice in one-third new, two-thirds old French Oak barrels. The end result is reminiscent of a Fig Newton: dark jammy fruit surrounded by lightly sweetened, anise-tinged pastry.

Further balance is achieved through blending– this Zinfandel is referred to as a Sangiovese on the Frank Family Vineyards website. Winemaker Todd Graff tamed the rustic quality and potentially rough edges found in Zinfandel with the addition of Petit Sirah (18%) and a soupçon of Cabernet Sauvignon (3%). The result is a rich, bold, modulated wine that is assertive yet perfectly polite and complementary. Mr. Graff should be proud, which is no sin. KEN

I was supplied with wine samples in order to bring information about Frank Family Vineyards to this blog. All opinions are my own.

Pairs With Sweet and Sour Lamb Stew: A Springtime Tradition

Price $37

Also pairs well with barbecue, roasted red meat, stews, slightly spicy foods, cold cuts, pasta, sharp cheeses

  • Category Red Wine
  • Varietal Zinfandel
  • Region Napa Valley CA