A Cozy Wine for a (er, Another) Rainy Day

Guess what?  It’s still gloomy!  After a brief glimpse of the sun on Monday, we’ve returned to what people are beginning to call “Seattle weather.”  I’m going to Seattle in June, so I’ll be interested to make a real comparison.

Graham and I are getting pretty tired of constant clouds and rain, but we’re dealing as best we can.  By drinking alcohol.  We’re doing other things too, of course (cards, chess games which I hesitate to call games because Graham beats me in five minutes, cartoons, etc.), but sometimes all you can do is raise a glass and laugh at your new “indoor” complexion.  Yesterday, we made Dark and Stormies.  Tonight, we’re drinking wine.

Last night, I made what I call a lazy man’s gumbo – onions, garlic, green bell peppers, tomatoes, andouille sausage, and red beans.  And lots of cayenne pepper.  It’s a little (read: melt your face off) spicy, so we opened a bottle of Chambourcin tonight to accompany the leftovers.  For those unfamiliar with Chambourcin, it’s a French-American hybrid grape.  It produces a deep-colored wine that can be made either dry or sweet, and it grows really well in Northern Virginia.

We opened a 2013 bottle from Zephaniah Farm Vineyard, a small, family-owned operation not too far from our house.  It’s a beautiful place, the owners are friendly and talkative, and the tasting room is in an old house that is absolutely packed to the gills with antiques.  Ask about any item, and they can tell you its story.  And chances are good that it’ll be a pretty interesting story.

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The last time we did a tasting at Zephaniah, we learned that their real goal is just to make tasty wine.  They want to produce wines that are drinkable and enjoyable, and if they also win medals, that’s cool too.  They’ve really succeeded with this Chambourcin.

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The nose is heavy on the berries, with a hint of cherry, as well.  It’s a very fruit-forward wine, but the initial sweetness gives way to smoke and a really balanced minerality.  It’s not the most complex red wine – Chambourcin, in my experience, usually isn’t – but it’s good.  Because it’s a little bit sweet, it pairs well with spicy food, and I think it would also pair nicely with smoked meat or with barbecue.  It’s a great table wine…good for sharing with others at a fun party.

We’re not having a fun party tonight.  But maybe we will once the sun finally makes its long-awaited reappearance.

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