The XXXIV doesn't refer to a vintage. Like the enumeration of Superbowl games, the XXXIV represents the number of years that Rosenblum has been making wine. In this case, it is thirty four years and my friend, Felice, would be impressed that I know that. Or, at least that I figured it out on my own.
Mrs TWC ran across the wine at Trader Joe's here in So Cal for a paltry $2.99. That bottle turned out to be a whole lot better than sink-pourin' so we bought more. So far, the consistency from bottle to bottle is good.
Think about this: $2.99 is the same price as Three Buck Chuck but it turns out that the Rosenblum is drinkable. In fact, Gentle Reader, you will not find a better three dollar wine anywhere. The wine is a nice illustration of TWC's maxim that goes something like this: I've had wines that cost three times as much that weren't half as good.
The wine is quite tasty and few Zinfandel drinkers will be disappointed (your mileage may vary). It is smooth and complex with spicy, peppery notes and dark fruit on the palate. The fruit is sourced from coastal vineyards and old vine Lodi.
I cannot emphasize enough how I appreciate finding an inexpensive red wine that isn't afflicted with what some euphemistically describe as sweet cherries when they really mean a cloying, sweetish, taint on nose (aroma) that lingers on the palate. Thank God that the wine also escapes the oak trap where marginal wine is over-oaked to cover up the blemishes. This Zin was aged in oak barrels but nobody tossed a couple of bags of oak chips into the vat.
Fruit is the focal point of our Zinfandel cuvée. To preserve the grapes’ inherent flavors and draw forward their maximum expression, we fermented the fruit in small lots with frequent punch-downs and pump-overs, allowing thorough contact between the skins and juice. Oak contact was minimal. We exposed the wine to 8 months in 100 percent American oak—just enough to knit together the flavors and leave a hint of baking spice. Prior to bottling, we blended in a small amount of Petite Sirah for an added boost of fruit and structure.
The Rosenblum is inexpensive enough to be everyday drinking wine yet is perfectly at home with a more formal setting. Serve the wine with hearty winter stew, chili, or grilled tri-tip.
Photo appears courtesy of Rosenblum Cellars.