Thursday, July 21, 2011

Golden Mile Zin

I was listening to a past episode Terry David Mulligan's radio broadcast/webcast, The Tasting Room, and the whole show was dedicated to his visit to the ZAP Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco. Hearing everyone wax on about the evolution of Zinfandel, from "Dago Red" to the exciting varietal that it is nowadays, just motivated me to grab a bottle from the racks at home.

Surprise, it's actually a BC Zin and not from California, but I think even TDM would have readily welcomed it into his glass.

871. 2005 Golden Mile - Luckhurst Family Vineyards Zinfandel (VQA Okanagan Valley)

There isn't much Zinfandel grown in BC and maybe only a handful of wineries actually produce a varietal wine. In 2010, the total production of Zin comprised about 0.2% of the overall value of red wine grapes in BC - just behind the limited amounts of Merlot and Gamay Noir grapes that are held back for the production of Ice Wine and slightly ahead of those huge favourites, Chancellor and Dunkelfelder.

Inevitably, I should think all of the Zin is grown in the very South of the Okanagan Valley - around the Golden Mile, Black Sage Road or the limited acreage South of Osoyoos - where the heat units are the highest in the province and the ability to ensure sufficient ripening of the grapes might be the most consistent.

It doesn't mean that the grape can't be grown successfully though. This particular vintage even won a gold medal at the 2007 Grand Harvest Awards held in California. - home of Zinfandel nowadays. Grand Harvest is an interesting competition in that it has a twist wherein judges taste wine by region (at the time, they don't know the region being tasted) and they pursue the identification of an excellence in regional typicity that could be considered terroir.

You likely wouldn't confuse this Zin for most of the Big California Zins that are predominant in the market. It isn't nearly as fruitfully in your face - although the alcohol was still pretty high at 14.5%. We really enjoyed the wine however. We found it to have a nice balance overall and tasty ripe, dark fruit.

You likely won't be able to find it anymore though. Firstly, Golden Mile Cellars is no longer around in name. In a "magnanimous" move, the winery morphed into Road 13 a couple of years back. An act that allowed the immediate region to start marketing that part of the Okanagan Valley, itself, as the Golden Mile. Secondly, Road 13 has changed its winemaker this past year and, as part of a new outlook, they are emphasizing blends as opposed to individual varietal wines. They'll still be using all the Zin they can get their hands on - it likely just won't be sold as straight Zinfandel.

So, there were two vintages of Golden Mile Zinfandel made (2005 and 2006) and one vintage of Road 13 (2007) so far. If the following vintages were as tasty as this 2005 was, that might just be an unimaginable shame. Luckily, I think we still have another bottle hanging around.

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