OK, I was a little bit wrong last month when I berated the Wall Street Journal for touting high alcohol wine. Norma and I were two of the lucky 50 people who attended the Hartford Family Winery’s winemaker’s dinner on May 22. Dessert was “Chocolate Clafoutis al’Ancienne, Blueberries, and Hazelnut Croquant.” It was incredible.
But even more incredible was the 2007 Hartford Vineyard Russian River Valley zinfandel ($55 per bottle, get one before they’re gone). Don Hartford has done an incredible job of tending the vineyard and whipping up a wine that is 16.5% alcohol but still balanced. And, yes, the aroma was not pure alcohol. Neither was the flavor.
So I was wrong, but just a tad. I still maintain that most high-alcohol wines are not well-balanced and largely undrinkable. I’ll make exceptions for Hartford, Lynmar Estate, and Kenneth Volk because I trust their winemakers. For all the others, you’ll need a lot of credibility with me to get me to taste them.
Don Hartford has done an incredible job of tending the vineyard and whipping up a wine that is 16.5% alcohol but still balanced.
About the dinner. Chef Taki Laliotitis (if you click the link, scroll down to see Taki’s photo and bio) put together a menu that perfectly complemented the wine selections. For the record, here’s the menu (complete with my scribbling about some of the ingredients):