June 22, 2005

Chateau La Paws 2002 Sonoma County Zinfandel

(about $15)

The United States has made two monumental contributions to gastronomy: barbecue and zinfandel. Cooking meat over an open fire isn’t the most original method of cooking, but we’ve made an art of it, from sauces to equipment, and the result is meats that taste like no other culture’s fire-cooked food. Zinfandel is a similar case: while the grape actually originated on the Dalmatian Coast, and can be found in Southern Italy under the name “primitivo,” no Dalmatian Coast or Southern Italian version tastes anything like Californian Zin. Californians have set the standard for it—particularly Californians with names beginning in R: Rabbit Ridge, Rafanelli, Ravenswood, Ridge, Rosenblum, to name a few. Thing is, those zins can get expensive, not to mention hard to find. However, under the Chateau La Paws label, Kent Rosenblum bottles a zin that has all the juicy, intense black fruit and jazzy spice that are hallmarks of the grape for just $15.

This recommendation first appeared in the Denver Post.

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