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Head to Cali’s Central Coast if you enjoy Zinfandel

December 10, 2018

R.I.P. President George H. W. Bush. Whether one supported our 41st president’s policies or not, few can refute his long, distinguished years in service to the country. Some in the chattering class used his passing to reopen some of their complaints against him. At this point that seems petty. I’m guessing history will treat 41 well. His decision to leave Saddam in power as a stabilizing force in the Middle East was affirmed by the rise of ISIS post-Gulf II.  Zoroaster (monotheistic) and Mani (Manichean dualism) are often described as precursors to the Judeo-Christian and Muslim belief systems. These two ancient philosophers are worth reading if you wish to understand the differences between Arab and Aryan Muslims.

Those who enjoy Marsanne,  Mourvedra, Syrah, Viognier; Zin and several other wines indigenous to Cotes du Rhone, but wish to buy American should look into Cali’s Central Coast Region. Get on Highway 1 and visit Big Sur, Hearst Castle, boat to camping on Channel Islands, golf near Carmel and drive a bunch of winding two-lane roads and dusty gravel lanes to visit the many wineries found there. Jog over via Route 46 through the mountains to 101 and turn south to Santa Maria or north to Paso Robles in the Central Valley. Go to Gilroy, the garlic capital, or to Castroville, artichoke capital of the world. Both have wonderfuland diverse food items made with their produce that not even Hari Cameron or the late great Leo Medisch could imagine.  Whichever way you go, you will find a plethora of wineries, too numerous to visit. If you enjoy Zinfandel, Turley Wine Cellars is your main target.

The proprietor is Larry Turley, brother of winemaker, consultant Helen (Colgin and Bryant Family). Larry was a founding partner in Frog’s Leap. He  sold to his partner after deciding to pursue his Zinfandel dream. Parker has called Larry Turley “the world’s premier Zinfandel specialist”. I’m going with U.S. or California’s best. It’s a very big world. However, for transparency’s sake the winemake,r is Karl Wicka.

This is a terrific stop to learn about Zin and Petite Syrah. They produce 47 wines from 50 vineyards. Most are single vineyard, old vine.  You can find a listing here: http://www.turleywinecellars.com/notes/. The Turley Ueberroth Vineyard vines were planted in 1885; both the 2013 and ‘14 are striking examples of great wine jacked up by critics. The ‘13 went from $129 on April 16 to $68 July 17, and is currently perfect at $95. The ‘13 opened at $85, spiked to $100 Nov. 17, and recently could be found at $57. High elevation limestone soil and ocean proximity prompts high acidity. The 2013 was very ripe and shows 15.8. percent alcohol.

This is a powerful Zin with loads of blackberry aromas accented with hints of smoke and licorice. On the palate beef, black pepper, cherry and pronounced tannins, with an earthy mineral finish. The window just opened but they could use another three to five years; good until 2030.  Both were marked in the 95-point range by all the likely suspects. 2013 is a McD 95 pointts if bought under $60. Have it smuggled in; hire Laffite the pirate, not Laffitte the bishop. The 2015 is nice but I’d say 91 points. 

 I’d like to apologize to my Jewish readers for a partially late Happy Chanukah wish. I had planned on writing of kosher and Pareve wine this week, but failed to record the correct date for the first day. Sunday, Dec. 2 at dar.k Here is an easy Sufganiyot (jelly donut recipe) from “My name is Yeh” as recompense.

Molly knows her stuff - makes eight to 10. One roll of biscuit dough, canola oil, for frying, sugar for rolling, about a half cup of filling.  Rest dough at room temperature until it’s easy to roll out, about 20 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out dough until it’s a half inch thick. Cut out two-and-a-half or three-inch circles or buy the precuts. Fry, in about inches of canola, 360-70F, until each side is deep brown, about one-and-a-half to two minutes per side. Do in batches so temperature stays above 360F. Remove to paper toweling and pat dry of oil. Using a squeeze bottle fill with jam. Dip in sugar, or not, and serve. You can warm jam in microwave for 30 seconds if necessary. Use good jam!! I prefer apricot or raspberry. Aggressive folks can try to make their own dough. Follow directions exactly for good results. Recipes are older than me because they work.