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The Cellar: Zinfandel + Chardonnay

Friday, September 21, 2012


At the next ‘Evening with Wine’ event at the Providence Wine Academy we will be exploring the two powerhouse grape varietals Chardonnay and Zinfandel. In preparation for these events I usually taste a dozen or so different examples from around the world and choose the ones I think are good representations. Obviously, not all the wines I taste can make onto the final list of wines poured. This week’s edition of ‘The Cellar’ features two wines that didn’t make the final cut but that are solid wines nonetheless and great values at around $17 each.

2010 Henri Perrusset, Mâcon-Villages, France

Henri Perrusset’s wines are imported by legendary importer Kermit Lynch. The two met very coincidently when they were seated together at a small crowded restaurant in the Beaujolais. Henri was just finishing up his

meal when their conversation started getting going. Before they knew it Kermit was invited to visit and taste Henri’s first vintage and the rest is history. Mâcon is the largest producing area of white wine in Burgundy, although red wines are also made here. This region generally produces light and dry wines; your typically everyday table wine that won’t the pocketbook. Wines labeled Mâcon-Villages are considered a step up. This sub-region covers selected communes in the Mâcon and is almost always white wines made from Chardonnay.

Henri Perrusset’s vineyards are located in the small town of Farges-les-Mâcon, on the northernmost tip of the limestone subsoil that characterizes the appellation of Mâcon. His Mâcon-Villages is 100% Chardonnay; a blend of all his 16 acres of Chardonnay situated around Farges. This wine has an undeniable creaminess to it that normally would make one think this wine has been exposed to oak, however it hasn’t. After undergoing malolatic fermentation the wine was left in the stainless steel tanks to age on the dead yeast cells for 8-10 months. The result is a medium bodied wine, creamy like I said, but also displaying delicious apple flavors along with a citrusy mouthwatering finish.

2009 Easton Amador County Zinfandel, California

Another wine that didn’t make the final cut but deserves being highlighted is the 2009 Amador County Zinfandel from Easton Winery. Legendary winemaker Bill Easton makes over 20 different wines, mostly small

productions, in his winery located on the West Slope of the Sierra Nevada in Amador County's Shenandoah Valley. His wines are released under two labels; Terre Rouge which are wines based primarily on Rhone varietals, such as Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne and Marsanne and his family’s Easton on the non-Rhone varietals wines.

Three-quarters of the wine produced in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley is Zinfandel. Famed wine writer Jancis Robinson once described the taste of Amador Zinfandel ‘as though it comes from a miner’s bucket’ (she meant it as a compliment!). Taste the 2009 Easton Zin after it has aerated for about 30 minutes in the glass and you may get an idea of what she is talking about. This is not your average over-ripe, super jammy Zinfandel. Described as being more cru Beaujolais or Rioja Crianza-styled, this wine displays some rustic notes and has some chewiness to it. The fruit is savory and dark which makes for a very pleasurable sipping experience.

The abovementioned Chardonnay & Zinfandel tasting is held on October 3rd and 4th. For more information visit the Providence Wine Academy’s website.


Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook.


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