Wine & Wax

new whirled zin a mostly jovial blend
label designs by my better half, photos by moi

Tomorrow at Mt. Aubury Winery we’re bottling the wines that we began last September. This is the second year that I’ve participated in a longstanding family ritual. I remember my father (re)starting the tradition back in the early 90s in our basement on Cushing Street, his uncle Louie offering some informal, inherited Italian-American expertise, of the sort that tended to result in strong but not very drinkable wines.

In the years since, with the addition of some advanced gadgetry and better knowledge (and appreciation) of what it takes to make good wine, the operation has grown more sophisticated — greater taste, less forte! — and it has moved a couple houses up the street, where it resides in the garage of an old family friend. A couple years ago Rebecca and I went in on the wines with our fellow friend&family stakeholders, and we’ve spent the last year enjoying (and sharing) almost 10 cases of pretty drinkable stuff.

We’re hoping for another yummy yield this year. Since we had good luck with a 70-30% Sangiovese-Merlot (or “Mostly Jovial“) blend last year, we’ve attempted to reproduce that success. And we’ve departed from previous tradition by augmenting the straight Zinfandel we did last year (and they the year before that) with a touch of Ruby Cabernet and Petit Syrah. Given that it’s a blend and that the Zin grape, despite its European origins, is basically an American/Californian varietal (thanks to a post Gold Rush planting boom) — in other words, arguably, a New World grape — I couldn’t resist the (W&W-resonant) pun, “New Whirled Zin.” Fortunately, my co-vintners agreed.

Because it resides in a garage rather than a cool basement, we have to bottle the wine around this time of year lest it get too warm for its own good (the A/C has been intermittently necessary for the past couple weeks), though I’m happy to report that just last week we crushed some Chilean grapes to ferment and then chill in a basement where we can let it age for a full year or more. That they’ve had to be young wines has not been a problem, as they tend to have a juiciness that we really enjoy. At any rate, we’ve run out of last year’s wine, so it’s time for some new sangre.

Anyway, I share all this in part because I haven’t really written about the wine-making side of my life (though friends & followers on Twitter and Flickr have likely been aware — and I’ll likely do some live-tweeting of the bottling tomorrow), and, yknow, wanted to share (or was that brag?). But also to invite any local loyalists to this here humble to come join me, my fam, and some other goodgood bredrin&sistren — THIS SUNDAY — for a little tasting in my backyard.

So if you like wine and you like Wayne — and you’re around this long weekend — bring your cleansed palettes and something to throw pon the grill. According to the Ultimate Wine Lovers Guide 2006:

For food, Zin is barbecue wine, plain and simple. In fact, there’s hardly a better wine-food combo around.

Holler via email/Twitter/comments for deets. S’posed to be a sunny day. Be nice to raise a glass with ya —

young wine in the sun