Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tasting Zolo Bonarda 2009

Honestly, I don’t know how this bottle even got into my cellar.  It looks like something I would buy; (1) it’s Argentinian, so reasonably priced, (2) interesting grape and (3) just plain fun to say.  Heh, kidding on number three.  I don’t buy wines because they’re fun to say.  Much.

Bonarda is a super-prevalent grape in Argentina and nowhere much else.  In California, it’s called Charbono but doesn’t enjoy the same level of popularity. Bonarda (or Charbono) is used generally as a blending grape due to its ink-dark color and intense tannins.

Evidently Argentina is experimenting with single-variety Bonarda wines. Cool! Zolo is a wine brand made by Finca Patagonias; they mostly do Tapiz, and describe themselves as “one of the most technological wineries in Argentina.” Which, totally not trying to be condescending here, cracks me up.  That usually tells me that they’ve got solid grapes, maybe always have, and now focus on the science of making large quantities of stable, crowd-pleasing wines. Fair enough.

The color is all Heart of Darkness, all the time in the glass.  The nose is pretty hot, with stewed blackberries, jammy jam and dusty earth notes.  The palate is spare – prunes are hanging around, and there are certainly tannins, but there’s also enough acidity to keep them from waking the baby.  And then there’s that smoky, toasty, don’t-call-me-fruity-or-I’ll-punch-you finish.  Something about this wine makes me think of… leather.  Not black leather, as the color would lead you to believe, but the dark brown leather of good riding boots.

All the dark tones of this little goth number make me think of what to pair it with.  Duck confit? chocolate coated pepper steak? boiled leather aux herbes?  Actually, the chocolate isn’t far off the mark – I snuck some dark chocolate chips out of the freezer, and they’re a hit.  But the smokiness of this wine makes it an excellent wine to go with my husband’s favorite food… Texas barbecue.  Yep, 12-hour smoked beef brisket would totally make out with this Bonarda.  They can get all intense and philosophical together, and talk about how they hate their parents.  It’s a date.


The best money you’ll hardly notice spending on wine paraphernalia

I was talking last weekend to someone (at our incredibly successful fundraiser, in fact; thanks to all who attended and gave!) about champagne and sparkling wine and how much we both love it. This is no secret to anyone who knows me – I am a fiend for the bubbly. Anonymous Nice Wine Lover Lady and I were in the same boat as far as number of wine drinkers in our homes – that number being one, each – and she was expressing regret at how it was so difficult to find good sparkling wine in splits, etc.

And I was all, dude! Champagne stoppers will change your life! And she was polite about it but possibly didn’t understand the part about Changing Her Life, but she will, if she ever gets a champagne stopper.

This cheap little apparatus is a rubber stopper with hinges, and it clamps onto the top of your only-just-touched bottle of bubbly to keep it fresh and sparkly for days! Days, gentle readers! Days of drinking a beautiful, petillant, refreshing, goes-with-any-food glass of the good stuff.

No one can be sad when they’re drinking champagne, unless it’s flat. A decent champagne stopper is like your frugal bubbly wingman. Get you one, and never cry again.