Our Wine of the Week, Dashe Cellars Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($24), is a perfect example of why Dry Creek Valley has gained a reputation as perhaps the best place for California's signature grape.
It has the flavors you expect from zinfandel, especially red raspberry, black raspberry, black cherry and cassis.
Those flavors are buoyed by a solid foundation of spice, especially licorice root, white pepper, allspice and clove.
Yet those alone do not signal the unique qualities of zinfandel grown in the Dry Creek Valley appellation.
The prettiness of the wine evokes its place, and by prettiness I mean a softness on the palate, silky tannins and bright lively acid. Combined with classic varietal flavors, the wine's feel in the mouth is all sensual delight.
At the table, the wine will have broad appeal.
All the usual foods that we enjoy with zinfandel — sausages, hamburgers, chili, pasta with red sauces, sweet red peppers, pizza, grilled steak, marinated skirt steak and all manner of barbecue — will welcome this wine alongside.
But the wine's bright acid and delicate texture widens the possibilities because you don't need to mitigate heaviness or rough tannins.
Thus, you can enjoy it with everything from fresh summer tomatoes, seafood soups and stews to BLTs, grilled eggplant, hummus, risotto, polenta, wild rice and lamb prepared any which way.
This wine is also excellent with blueberries, especially blueberry sauces paired with lamb or duck.