Cardinal Zin 2005

Cardinal ZinPrice: $19
Maker: Cardinal Zin Cellars, Santa Cruz, California
Varietal: Zinfandel
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, screw cap
Alcohol: 14%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Cardinal Zin 2005 features a creative, funky label design that includes the tag line, “Beastly Old Vines”. (Oddly, it’s one of the only wines we’ve seen that includes the alcohol content in a size and color that doesn’t require a magnifying glass to read.) This Zin has a nice, smoky berry aroma. The flavor is a nicely balanced mix of cherry, blackberry, and oak, with a black pepper finish that’s slightly slightly acidic. This isn’t a really gigantic Zin, but its structure will appeal to many wine drinkers, including those who avoid over-the-top Zinfandels.

From Underdog Wine Merchants:

We are zealous believers in the decadent and forbidden flavors of this sinfully delicious Zinfandel. Grown from Beastly Old Vines (vines in the ground for 20+ years), this wine elicits fervent, fecund and frenzied tongue enveloping pleasures. A wine of substance, it’s a Cardinal Zin not to drink at the altar of this decadent, rich and spicy old vine zinfandel.

An amusing sidenote is that the label art for this wine was apparently banned in Ohio. The Australian Wine Society of Toronto blog characterized the 2004 version as, “lots of plum, spice and some cherry jam.” The Guy & Girl blog described the 2003 vintage as, “Sweet, without being overbearing. Hints of pepper, very unique.” That sounds a bit different than the 2005.

The label of the bottle suggests that it complements “all manner of game and other wild beasts, including sloth.” Chances are you won’t serve sloth at your next dinner party (it’s getting sooo expensive and hard to find!), but Cardinal Zin would be a fine choice with grilled or roasted beef, or other dishes requiring a robust red to accompany them.

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