Review: California Wines & 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel

I don’t know whether to attribute it to my wineducation with iYellow Wine Club or my transition to eating gluten-free, but in the past few years I’ve been growing even fonder of grapes. You know, the kind of grapes you grow with loving care all summer, harvest them in the fall, and then ferment the heck outta them! I tend to lean towards Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc’s but I will never turn down the opportunity to try something new.

types of wines

At the most recent iYellow Wine Club event, California Cruisin’, guests were invited to sample a number of wines from California. It was there that I discovered Zinfandel. My guest and I decided to leave our trustworthy white wine favourites and try something new.

Enter: 7 Deadly Zins. The fun and light Zinfandel that won us over at first sip!

7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel
This Zinfandel fits a very wide flavour profile. It’s dark berry and earthy aromas lend to a full-bodied wine experience but the hints of bright fruits and warm spice leave it feeling light and fun.

I recently was given the chance to speak to Doug Kahle, who represents Michael David Winery where 7 Deadly Zins is made. Doug has over 30 years of experience working in the wine industry. I wanted to ask him how a Zinfandel, specifically this Zinfandel sits in a busy Torontonians lifestyle.

What drew you to the wine industry?
I grew up in Detroit and the choices of industries you could go into after school were pretty limited. There was the auto industry, banking or financial, or manufacturing. A lot of pop wines were being sold at that time and it looked like a lot more fun than the auto industry!

7 Deadly Zins

Which sin does this line of work make you feel?
While I think there is a certain amount of gluttony (we eat a lot when we’re out on the road) and pride (in what you do and the product you produce), I’ll have to go with lust. Wine adds a bit of spice to life!

What is the number one rule for producing a good wine?
Plant the right grapes in the right area. Winemakers can only do so much with the land they have and after that it’s all up to nature! You can ensure you are making the best wine possible by planting the right grapes in the right climates and soil profiles.

What have been the best vintages at Michael David Winery? [For non-wine drinkers: this means “which years produced the best wines”. You can check the labels at grocery stores to make sure you’re getting these years!] California is pretty consistent compared to other wine producing places. In terms of quality, 2007 was an amazing year. 2009 and 2010 were good as well. In terms of quantity, 2010 and 2012 had really high yields and we were able to grow a lot of grapes!

Which grapes grow best in California?
California grows so many of the great grape varieties because of all the microclimates caused by the ocean, inland heat, and mountains. Warmer climates like Lodi are great for the full bodied reds and the cooler weather in Sonoma makes for great chardonnays. We are lucky for the microclimates in California because it means we can grow most varietals really well somewhere in the State.

How much wine do you produce every year?
400,000 cases – that’s 5 million bottles. 80% of that is 7 Deadly Zins! It is the 2nd bestseller in the U.S. and is sold in 18 countries around the world.

What would you pair with 7 Deadly Zins?
Because of it’s big flavour profile with soft  tannins, 7 Deadly Zins goes with everything from BBQ salmon in rich sauce to lamb, steak, or anything with a hearty flavour profile to it. This is a strong wine and it needs to be paired with a strong food too.

How long can I store this wine?
Most Zins are better younger and they don’t get better with age in a cellar like a cabernet would. This wine is perfect to be picked up on your way home and enjoyed with dinner that night.

How does a wine like 7 Deadly Zins fit in with the busy city lifestyle of many Torontonians?
Because of the big flavour style that pairs well with almost anything. Because it’s a wine to pick up on your way home and drink it with your BBQ tonight. 7 Deadly Zins is a really versatile wine that wins people over [Editor’s note: I am proof of that!]. It’s also a really fun brand with a bit of a sense of humour. It’s fun and light-hearted and that’s reflected in the packaging, the name, and the essence of the wine.

7 Deadly Zins is available at the LCBO for $24.95 per bottle.  


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