This time we are going to take a spin back down the left-coast to a little place, called Zaca Mesa in Santa Barbara County, which can be found just out-side of the lovely town of Los Olivos [but there tasting room is not in the city-center] on Foxen Canyon Road, just down the road from iconic Fess Parker.
If you are looking for a good jumping-off place or just a base of operations while you are exploring Santa Barbara's wine country then may I recommend Solvang, a little less expensive, yet wonderfully poised as place to start your own wine-tasting adventures. Many great restaurants are located within a relatively short driving distances as well.
If your staying in Los Olivos, it's a relatively short drive from their downtown area out to the winery, it will be hard to not find a wine you will like, as most of their wines are well above-average and the bonus is that the majority of their vino is very reasonably priced.
Folks, if you have never been to the area and consider yourself a "cork-dork" or just a casual fan of the grape, then you really owe it to yourself to make plans to experience this winetastic winemaking region, that produces some of the best freaking juice in the world. Not too far of a drive from San Diego or LA either. You could spend a week here and still not see everything there's to see and do. I've been there three times myself and once I arrive I really never want to leave. And of course who could forget that this the area was made even more famous, by the movie Sideways movie, which by the way, there's a sequel in the works as we speak, called Vertical.
Pairing: We all know that Easter weekend is upon us and many folks including myself are planning to incorporate a lamb dish into this fun and festive family weekend. As for me, I always go with the ever dependable Lamb Chops, which I secure from my local Costco [because they have the best price]. This is one of the easiest entrees to prepare, my god it's so simple it should be a crime. The most difficult part is getting those chops out of the hermetic sealed package, without a little splurge flying here and there. My recommended pairing with any lamb dish would be the Zaca Mesa Z Cuvee, which should meld effortlessly with the gaminess that many derive from lamb.
Recipe: Okay so here's my uber-easy no-fuss or muss recipe. I use a simple cookie sheet covered with two sheets of aluminum foil, I throw the lamb-chops down and douse with some olive oil [evoo] sea-salt, ground pepper, fresh sprigs of rosemary from the garden. Then I drop the chops into the pre-heated broiler [set to low] near the bottom rung and cook both sides for 15 minutes and hit it with a 5 minute blast [on the fat-side] on high for extra carmelization. They turn out, nicely pink in the middle and will wow any guest you have over for the holiday. By the way I also like throw some roasted rosemary red-potatoes on the side, which again, is another super-simple recipe [I cut the potatoes thin and place in broiler with the lamb], that will wow your guest and compliment the lamb-chops quite nicely. Veggies, hmmm a spinach-salad supreme is just the ticket to round out the meal and again falls into the uber-easy, but oh so fantastic tasting recipe side of the equation.
Swirl, Sniffy-Sniff, Slurp: After the first splash-down in the glass, this blend of 57% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, & 12% Syrah core of this wine had a deep ripe strawberry colored hue and shimmers like a night sky in the desert. Immediately aromas of fresh picked strawberries, which are followed by a bouquet of toast, framboise, black raspberries, and a hint of spring floral aromas. On the palate this wine just dances with rain-drops of flavor, it's plush light bodied wine, nicely complex and a wonderfully concentrated effort with silky tannins and good acidity which jams the mid-palate with a red/dark fruit explosion, that falls off a bit toward the end. A fantastic food wine, that will not over-power, but instead complements the meal from the first pour to the last drop.
What's the Score: Wow this a great effort by the team at Zaca Mesa, the quality, price, ratio [QPR] is off the charts, availability is plentiful, taste has a wow-factor and the price is right. So the CCWB score on this wine is 90 points. Not sure why other reviewers, didn't dig it as much as I did, but nonetheless this is some very tasty juice. This wine is a drink now and drink often, style of wine, compared to so many other wines on the market today, this wine is dressed to impress right out of the gate, an easy-going delight.
Other Voices: Okay folks I found just one other review of this current release, one that closely mirrored my thoughts, but just not as impressed as I, so here you go. This dark ruby colored red blend opens with a mild red raspberry and strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and fruit forward. The flavor profile is a red currant with notes of mild oak. There was also some black pepper and spice mixed in as well. The finish is dry and its moderate tannins linger for a little while. This wine would pair with spicy pulled pork. Enjoy - Ken's Wine Guide and Ken gave it a score of 87 points.
Price and Purchase: You can find this out-standing valued priced wine at few places on winesearcher
selling in the price range of $17 to $20 each in the 750ml size.
Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as sample for the review process.
Well that's all I've got for you today, I hope you all have a winetastic Easter weekend and whatever your plans maybe I hope you will be giving this very tasty wine a swirl. Until next time, sip long and prosper, cheers!