“ Education is not a part of life. Education IS life.” One of my college professors
Before going into specifics about this wine I have to tell you that this was really a unique experience. Since I am not really a fan of dessert wines and I normally don’t like anything too sweet, I was reluctant to say the least. But this wine was served at a dinner party with some good friends and they had held it for a long time waiting for the right moment and the right people to serve it to. They even recommended that I write about it. As I stated above, education is life. Be bold. Be open. Never be afraid to try something new and different. You just might get a very pleasant surprise.
Candlewood Cellars produces this wine in the Paso Robles wine region of California. This is a very scenic area of the Golden State with about 26,000 acres devoted to more than 180 wineries growing 40 different winegrape varieties ranging from Italian, French and Spanish. Situated just about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this is a part of California wine country that should never be missed. Like most of the state the climate is ideal and the working soil continually yields consistent crops. But this vintage presented a challenge because of an abnormally cold April which destroyed much of the crop with frost. Later, winds caused uneven flowering on the vines which was followed by a hotter than normal August and another frost in early October. But it was the nicer weather in later October that saved the crop although yields were less than normal. The later ripening grapes though produced a very rich tasting wine that was well balanced and flavorful.
Now port wine is originally from Portugal, where tradition dictates that it must be crushed by foot, and many enthusiasts still feel that this is the true, real port wine product. It is a sweeter wine with tastes of raspberry, blackberry, cinnamon and chocolate which makes it perfect for after dinner. The two major styles are a Red port which is slightly less sweet, and Tawny port which is more complex which with an injection of caramel, is the sweeter of the two. But what makes Port wine unique is the blending of the grapes. To be a true Port wine, grapes must be of Portuguese origin and can actually contain up to 52 varieties of grapes each of them adding a different look and taste. Port wine is also very fragrant with noticeable essences of dark berries, vanilla and cinnamon.
Evenus Zinfandel Port is the first port wine I have tasted in years and I have to admit, I’ve been missing something here. Not too sweet but with a smoother, richer texture than a table wine, I thoroughly enjoyed it much to my surprise! After a dinner of grilled meats we found this to be a very nice addition to dessert. A very pleasant diversion from coffee, it was served with a lemon cake topped by a limoncello glaze and some berries and the combination was absolutely perfect! Thinking back, I kind of think that the rich taste of the meat was a good lead in to the wine as the heartiness was a compliment rather than a contrast.
Sporting a simple, yet well done label showing a very demure woman on a pale background, there is a “come hither” look to her. Not mysterious but still arousing a curiosity. This is a sipping wine, meant to be savored and meant to be something different. Wine is always best when it is shared with friends, but you also have to consider that wine has friends too! And this particular wine will count among its best friends, both blue and goat cheese before dinner, and some dark chocolate for after. Keep in mind that this is a Red, or Ruby Port, so it is only slightly sweet and that is where it will really shine as it blends with the bitterness of a dark chocolate. And what is a better combination than that? Two of God’s greatest gifts, wine and chocolate with good friends and good company thrown in for good measure. That’s called a can’t miss. Also, keep in mind that this wine is meant to be stored. It should be drinking very well for the next ten years, at least.
Yeah. Education. It’s a great thing.
Alcohol – 18% by volume
Price – about $28