Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 14, 2017
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A little winter zing

This time of the year calls for a little bottled sunshine. We may be well into the new year, but we’re still well stuck in winter, and the end of hibernation seems way off in the distance. In other words, it’s time for comfort wine.

So crank up the crock pot, stoke the fire and crack open a bottle of rich Cline Zinfandel. Now “comfort wine” is not the easiest thing to define. Both taste and comfort are subjective. And admittedly, this wine might not be for everyone.

It is almost over-the-top plush with vanilla and mixed berry-pie filling. It merrily smothers the tastebuds with its smooth finish. It doesn’t shy from offering toasty oak. If you like big and bold, fruit-forward bottles that warm the palate — this is your kind of tongue curler.

Close your eyes while sipping and you can almost see the clusters of purple-black Zinfandel grapes basking in the sun. Indeed Zinfandel was made for the sun-drenched vineyards of California. The thin-skinned grape, which was introduced to the States via Italy where it is known as Primitivo — for armchair ampelographers, it is worth noting that Primitivo came to southern Italy by way of Croatia, where the cultivar is called Crljenak Kaštelanski — requires a warm, dry climate to avoid bunch rot and encourage even ripening.

However too much heat can have exuberant Zinfandel developing sugar levels through the roof, requiring winemakers to keep a watchful eye on its overall balance. The result in the bottle is a diverse range of styles, from earthy raspberry and bramble to strawberry jam, that has allowed Zinfandel to gain a loyal fan base.

Of course, at some point, we have to open our eyes and return to the reality of the Canadian winter. But with the beef ribs braising or the pot of chili burbling and a glass of Zinfandel in hand, spring suddenly doesn’t seem so far off.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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