We have already covered the four components to look for when you are tasting wine: integration, expressiveness, complexity and connectedness. For some reason, the idea of connectedness tends to stump people. To better explain the connectedness in regards to wine, it is best if we use an example. Take, for instance, our 2011 Bradford Mountain Grist Zinfandel.
The Grist Zinfandel showcases a deep, dark purplish color with mouthwatering notes of fresh berries, ripe plum and rich blueberries with a lighter body than a typical Zinfandel. Thirsty yet? A wine can showcase a number of thirst provoking qualities but, what causes a wine to take on the qualities that it does? The answer to this question is best described as connectedness. It is the relationship that the grapes have to the earth and climate from where they are grown. All the fruit for the Grist Zinfandel comes from the Grist Vineyard (pictured above) which is a 140 acre ranch with 68 acres of planted vineyard up a top Bradford Mountain in Dry Creek Valley.
Typically, Dry Creek Zinfandel’s are noted to be big, jammy and fruit forward. With the Grist vineyard sitting up on a mountain top, high above the valley floor, the grapes have a small micro climate to grow in which helps separate the wine that it produces it from its competitors. Because of the climate and elevation above the valley floor, the vines tend to ripen evenly, producing wines that are concentrated with a great depth of flavor, a little bit of spice and a slightly lighter body. The Grist Zinfandel showcases a great connectedness to the land and vines that it is produced from. Virginia herself likes to refer to the Grist Zinfandel as a ‘Pinot lovers Zin,’ referring to the fact that it is has a lighter body than your typical zinfandel.
If this sounds complicated to you, don’t worry. It takes years of trying wines from different areas and being able to identify what wine from a specific region should taste like. So the moral of the story is, as my father always told me, “Practice Makes Perfect!” So keep on practicing!
If you happen to miss the first two parts Wine Tasting 101- ‘Drinking vs Tasting’ and ‘Love. Great. Wine.’ make sure to check them out. In the next portion of Wine Tasting 101, we will start at the beginning of a wine tasting experience. We will explore the technique of assessing a wine by sight, helping you identify color, clarity, intensity, and what these factors tell you about the wine. Until next time…. Cheers!