Rogue’s gallery

JanKris Picaro 2004
Varietal: 50% Zinfandel 25% Merlot 25% Cabernet
ABV: 13.8%
Appelation: Paso Robles, CA
Price point: $8 (bought a 5-pack from wine.woot for $40 plus $5 shipping)

The 5-pack.  image from wine.woot

The 5-pack. image from wine.woot

Looks: The label. It is so purple!  And gold!  Plus, it looks like the Girl Scouts logo.  It probably doesn’t go too well with Thin Mints though.  Actually, maybe.  That might be interesting to try.

Copyright infringement?  Encouraging girl scouts to drink wine?

Copyright infringement? Encouraging girl scouts to drink wine?

As for the wine, a tinge of reddish orange is peeking through the normal deep purple of a young wine; it’s starting to show its age, but just slightly*.
Nose: Honestly, at my first sniff i got an interesting aroma: shellfish. like shrimp shells. Further down, i got sawdust, like a freshly cut 2×4. Eventually this led into some dark fruit, blueberryish characteristic cooked fruit zinfandel notes.
Palate: At first sip, I felt this in my cheeks. The {astringency} puckered them right up, an experience that I’ve rarely had in a non-experimental wine before. That being said, it wasn’t altogether unpleasant. I like a wine that firmly announces its presence in one’s mouth, like a medieval herald’s trumpet (you know, with the big banner on it). Dun da da DAH! WINE! It’s a bit woody, maybe owing to time spent in barrels, likely American oak.
It also had a hint of sweetness, which called me back to the fruit*. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has a bit of residual sugar. On the palate I was reminded of a wine I had a little while ago, Viña Borgia (garnacha). It had a tinge of bitterness to go along with the astringency, what one might call “oaky tannin“.
Rating: 2 corks corkcork

This wine was actually free. After purchasing this 5-pack on wine.woot I was asked to “lab rat” the wine. These things happen when you’re a well-respected wine journalist like myself *snort*. In short, I got a free bottle of Picaro in exchange for a timely tasting note (shared above). I’m not sure if my note encouraged anyone, as I really wasn’t too big of a fan. However, I believe that woot sold out of their holdings of the wine, so apparently price was more of a factor than the lab rat tasting notes.

In contrast to the Long Point Zinfandel (grown somewhere in CA), this Zinfandel had a lot of acidity. The high acidity intensified the effect of the astringency, which was probably brought in by the Cabernet Sauvignon portion of this somewhat unusual red blend. All in all, it wasn’t that great. In fact, even for $8, you could probably do much better (think Chile).

Color changes in 1, 5, and 25 year-old wines.  This is the only adequate picture of this phenomenon I could find.  img from G. Sacks, Cornell Univ.

Color changes in 1, 5, and 25 year-old wines. This is the only adequate picture of this phenomenon I could find, since all the wine journals seem to be printed in black and white. img adapted (read: stolen) from G. Sacks, Cornell Univ.

*Science! As red wines age, their color drifts from bluish-purple to brick-red to brown. Color in red wines come from contact of the juice with the grape skins. In the skins live compounds called anthocyanins. These polyphenolic compounds (or if you want to market a bit better, ANTIOXIDANTS) can be found in several different colors depending on the state of the wine (pH, oxidation, etc.) (Ref: Mirabel et al., “Copigmentation in model wine solutions: occurrence and relation to wine aging”, AJEV, 1999) As the wine ages, the reddish types begin to dominate over the purples. The rate at which this occurs can depend on the fermentation and storage conditions.

Once the wine starts turning brown, it’s oxidizing (more on oxidizing in a future post). For more info on color and wine, check out this page. While I kind of disagree with their statements about quality and age, it’s interesting to see a color spectrum for wines.

Published in: on 12 March 2009 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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