Like Bacon in a Glass: Predator Old Vine Zinfandel 2009

pigDon’t get me wrong — I like bacon as much as the next guy. I’ll lay a few strips beside my French Toast, hit it with a little bit of maple syrup, and go to town.

But I don’t like pork in my wine.

I come across it occasionally, usually when I’m tasting California Pinot Noir or Syrah. Some people try to downplay it — “Oh, that’s not bacon; it’s just a touch of smoky oak.” But you can’t bullshit me — I know smoked ham when I taste it.

Just like in Predator Old Vine Zinfandel 2009. I was looking forward to tasting this wine, because until recently it had been allocated, sold only to an upscale grocery chain near us. Of course, there’s nothing likeĀ  “You can’t have it” to make us want it. It’s one of those tried and true principles of the capitalist economy: “The less you supply, the more we demand.”pred

So let’s skip to the moment of truth. I’d popped the cork and poured the Predator around. The bacon hit me before my nose was in the glass, and I glanced across the table. My husband was recoiling, but the other taster hadn’t reacted. I sniffed again, with the same result. But there was nothing for it but to take the plunge and sip.

What I got was — bacon. Granted, there was some soft berry underneath, but it couldn’t compete with the pig. There was no discernible acid or structure, so it finished soft, but not long.

I don’t know where all this bacon is coming from. The grapes for this Zin are sourced from old vines in Lodi, and grown using Sustainable farming methods. That means they’re just this side of Organic and use little or no chemicals and pesticides in the vineyards, relying instead on utilizing natural predators such as ladybugs to eat harmful pests (hence the ladybug on the label). I’m all for that — I wish every winery did the same.

Lodi, California produces a lot of old vine Zin, and I have to admit that I don’t enjoy most of it. The warmer climate seems to create a raisin-y character that I don’t enjoy, as well as a flabby finish. But that’s still not bacon!

If you have an idea about this bacon issue, please leave me a comment. And if you like that flavor, please go buy yourself a bottle of Predator. At $21 when it’s not on sale, and around $16 when it is, it’s not really a bargain.

But is unique. Very unique. Cheers!


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