Since Pulling The Cork is new I wanted to pick a wine I had recently discovered and was surprised to find out I liked so much. A new blog, a newly discovered wine etc. Sort of makes sense I guess. I chose Martinelli's Jackass Vineyard 2005 Zinfandel. It is also sort of fun saying Jackass frequently. I am late to the party when it comes to this wine by the way.
On my trip to Las Vegas (my first trip to Vegas) in February of 2008 with my wife Jodie we made dinner reservations at Todd English's Olives at Bellagio. Since we are here to talk about wine I won't digress on the restaurant but suffice to say it was impressive. We had an absolutely wonderful meal and whoever is responsible for hiring the host and serving talent here should win a recruiting excellence award. Clearly they are doing things right when it comes to hiring talent.
The Sommelier is Tammy Ruesenberg and she recommended this wine. Tammy was exceptional! She lacked the pretentiousness of many sommelier's I have experienced and her knowledge and expertise were clearly evident. If you eat at Olive's (which you should) and you are looking for a great wine to pair with your meal be sure to ask for Tammy and let her know Michael Homula recommended her. Not that she will know who I am or really care but it was fun to say and made me seem important.
Winery and Vineyard Background
Here is a link to all you need to know about the actual Jackass Vineyard at Martinelli which produces this amazing Zin and is consistently producing great Zins. I chose the 2005 because it just happens to be one of my recent favorites. I have had other vintages (years) of this great wine and find the consistency between the vintages to be quite extraordinary. The vineyard was planted over 100 years ago and sits on a very steep hillside (so steep only a Jackass would tend to it...get it?). The vines produce a nice crop for 100+ year old vines and they are farmed the same way they were a century ago. This means no pesticides etc. The wine maker is none other than THE Helen Turley, a real genius. You might call her the John Sullivan of wine making. If you want to know more about her read this. (more after the jump)
My thoughts on the 2005 Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel
Before we go to my thoughts, a word of warning. I can some times be dramatic in how I describe wine. The amount of verbose, colorful and descriptive language I use is directly proportionate to how much I enjoy the wine. Consider yourself warned as you read on.
It was deep purple (not like the heavy metal band); almost plum in color. This wine is significant in terms of alcohol content at around 17% (some of you are cringing "why not tequila then", some of your are screaming "hell yea!") but it doesn’t really come through in the nose (smell) nor does it hamper its drinkability. If you are someone who really enjoys clarity in the nose (smell) of your wine then you are going to get hit right in the sniffer with the big scents of pepper, blackberries and currant. After experiencing the nose I became really pumped to taste.
The alcohol content mentioned above was completely masked by the dark cherry, blueberry, blackberry and fig on the palate. It was decadent in the mouth. Simply awesome. The fruit almost seemed macerated in brandy at times. This Zin is very full bodied and finishes with traces of fruit and pepper. This is a big wine that took Jodie and I on a journey we will not forget. It really opened up as it sat and an hour into our meal it only got better. Not because we had drank too much (sure you say) but because the wine had ample time to breathe and release it's deeper essence. Did I really just say that?
Jodie is not normally a big fan of full bodied red's but she took to this wine easily and really liked it. She really loves Zinfandel now. We like it so much I went hunting for it online as soon as we returned to the hotel. Robert Parker scored it a 95 calling it “a full bodied, exotic, opulent wine and a total hedonistic and intellectual turn on”. Clearly he is even more verbose than I am.
If you are looking for this Zinfandel, especially the 2005 vintage, it can be hard to get. Martinelli Winery has a mailing list and the offerings are only made to this list with it's most senior members getting first dibs. If you are inclined to add yourself to the mailing list send an email to Patricia. While getting the Jackass Zins can be very tough Martinelli offers plenty of other wines that are really excellent.
If you can find it, wrap your arms around it and run home with it. If you can't find it, book yourself for small group or one on one recruiter training with BFC and we might just open a bottle together!