Skip to main content

A Fun Way to Try Red Zinfandel Wine

Are you wine-challenged?  Do you wonder what wine to pair with which foods?  Well, that would be me.  I am a "safe" wine drinker.  By that I mean I stick with the same wine day in and day out, chicken, fish, or steak.  Are you like me?

Last weekend I wanted to try something new.  But what?  We were having the Beef Bourguignon dinner I wrote about a few days ago.  I knew that red wine was in order, but which one?

Hubby went to our local wine store where a red zinfandel was recommended by a very knowledgeable employee.  Hubby decided to get three different bottles of red zinfandel wine so we could use this as an opportunity to taste each of the different wines with our meal.  It would give us an opportunity to try a new variety of wine, three different brands and to compare and contrast what we liked about them. 

Does that sound like fun?   Yes, it was.

The three wines we served with our dinner were:
Tasting Red Wines
The Zinfandel Wines

Jonathan Edwards, 2007, Zinfandel
Zen of Zin, 2008, Old Vine Zinfandel
Apothic Red, 2009, Winemakers Blen (Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot)

We were looking for affordably priced wines, all with the same grape variety.  The variables in these wines were:
  • the age of the wine 
  • blended versus non-blended wine

I prepared a Zinfandel fact sheet for each person.  You can take a look at the Zinfandel fact sheet here


Using a fact sheet to explain wines during a wine tasting.
The Zinfandel Fact Sheet

Each place setting had three wine glasses, one for each of the wines.

Three glasses of wine for a wine tasting
Three Wine Glasses at  Each Place setting

The dinner we were having with the wine was beef Bourguignon, roasted Brussels sprouts (with bacon and garlic), and twice-baked potatoes.

The Beef Bourguignon Dinner

Here are some of the comments we wrote down about the wines:
Jonathan Edwards, 2007 Zinfandel: 
  • Cherry flavor is prevalent, smooth,
  • Spicy, bold, oaky
  • Taste is sharp with food, wine has a bite, can smell oak
 Zen of Zin, 2008, Old Vine Zinfandel
  • A little bitter, can smell oak
  • Just right with beef bourguignon
  • Fruity, light
Apothic Red, 2009, Winemaker's Blend
  • Fruity
  • Light, tasty, fruity
  • Good with food-harsh without food, can smell fruit
In general, some conclusions we made were:
  • The wines taste differently with food than without food.  We specifically tried each wine with food and on its own.
  • Each person had a different favorite, generally aligned with the level of fruitiness they preferred.
  • This is a great way to try new wines and learn about how wines differ.
So, go ahead.  Buy some new wines to try at your next dinner party.  It will liven up your taste buds and add some fun conversation to your evening. 

Want to read more about wine tastings?

Five Tips to Make The Most of A Wine Tasting

We will certainly try this again!

Chardonnay Wine Tasting


  1. We love Zinfandel! That Zen of Zin was surprisingly good given how inexpensive it is, and the Jonathan Edwards Zin is a favorite of ours.
    That dinner looks delicious!


Post a Comment

Talk to me. I welcome your comments. (These comments are strictly moderated. Spammers take note.)

More Popular Posts

How to Make a Perfect Bacon and Eggs Breakfast

In my opinion, the best breakfast consists of two perfectly fried eggs, crispy bacon, and toast made with hearty bread. This bacon and eggs recipe delivers. Bacon and eggs or eggs and bacon? No matter, it is definitely the breakfast you want on those lazy mornings when you have time to relax around the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee or two. The Best Bacon and Eggs Breakfast (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) How to Cook Bacon and Eggs My technique was learned from my mom, by watching her make our family's breakfast over and over again, year after year.  This is a basted egg recipe which means the eggs are cooked in bacon grease. Cooking eggs in bacon fat is easy and takes just a little practice to perfect. All you really need for a great bacon and eggs breakfast is a good nonstick skillet and a good toaster . If you want to make your own bread fo

The Best Asian Dipping Sauce You'll Ever Taste

If you're looking for a versatile, easy-to-make Asian dipping sauce perfect for sushi and dumplings, then you've come to the right place. This recipe for the best Asian dipping sauce is perfect for any time you want a  kick of delicious Asian flavor. An Asian Dipping Sauce for Sushi and Dumplings Try this if you are looking for a dipping sauce that is a little more flavorful than you typically get with your takeout order. You'll love it with dumplings, too!

Grandma's Soft and Chewy Date-Filled Cookies

One of the things I can count on as the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons arrive each year is a feeling of nostalgia. The traditional foods we serve at our family's holiday tables can sure bring out all the feels. Now that it is officially cookie season, we should kick it off with an old-fashioned homemade date-filled cookie recipe. This is a soft, tender cookie with dates that is a special, nostalgic, family recipe.   An Old-Fashioned Date Cookies Recipe This old-fashioned, date-filled cookie was my dad's favorite cookie from his childhood. My dad was born in 1932 so this recipe has been around for quite a while. 

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house because it is a delicious dish that can satisfy your cravings for Italian food. It's also easy to make at home with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry.  But what if you don't have time to cook on a busy weeknight? Don't worry, you can make Chicken Parmesan ahead of time and freeze it for later. I like to prepare Chicken Parmesan to have on hand in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  How to Make Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Nights This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small compensation when you shop using these links Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Pa

Traditional New England Whoopie Pies

Are you looking for the best whoopie pie recipe?  Whoopie pies are a quintessential New England dessert and a memorable treat from my childhood.   My mom would make them for us every once in a while.  Oh, what a treat to come home from school to a platter of chocolate whoopie pies!  Yum! Today I'm sharing my recipe for the best-ever whoopie pies. The Best Whoopie Pies Recipe without Marshmallow Fluff Whoopie Pies Whoopie pies are soft round cookie-like cakes with a smooth cream filling sandwiched in the center. Debate rages about the whoopie pie's origin.  Some say these goodies originated in New England, others say they originated with the Amish.   There is also debate about what ingredients should be in the filling.  Many recipes include fillings made with Marshmallow Fluff or buttercream but neither is  traditional, in my opinion.  The whoopie pie of my childhood is a traditional Maine whoopie pie recipe, made with a cooked flour and milk mixture added to suga

Winter Care for Orchids and African Violets

Are you familiar with the term "hygge"?  It's a Danish term that has caught on in the U.S. because it speaks to the feelings of coziness and relaxation we seek during the winter months.  It emphasizes the simple things in life and the feelings of a life well-lived.   One of the ways I create hygge this time of year is by making sure my collection of African violets and orchids is happy and healthy, How to Care for African Violets and Orchids During Winter This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small compensation when you shop with these links. Your houseplants are most likely crying out for some attention right now.  If you are like me, you ignored them a bit during the busy holidays.  After all the festive decorations are put away, it's time to give your plants a lovely spa treatment.  Read on for tips on how to care for orchid plants and African violets in winter.

How to Doctor Up Store-Bought Potato Salad

Here's a potato salad time-saver for you just in time for summer cookouts. You'll love how you can transform grocery store potato salad so easily no matter whether you are hosting a BBQ or bringing a side dish for a summer barbecue. There's no judgment here. We don't always have the time to make a potato salad from scratch. Sometimes it is just easier to stop by your local grocery store to pick up a container of store-made potato salad. It's good. It's predictable.  It will do.  All it needs is a little doctoring. How to Make Store-Bought Potato Salad Better When you need a quick potato salad, and have no time to make one from scratch, that ordinary store-bought potato salad you have in your refrigerator can go from blah to amazing in just a few minutes with just a few ingredients. Yes, you can improve store-bought potato salad. How to Doctor Up Potato Salad to have a little more flavor? You're going to a potluck picnic or you are having

Forgotten Pork Chops-A Skillet Dinner

When I first made this pork chop skillet dinner several years ago I knew it was a winner but never predicted how wildly successful it would be with my readers. Perhaps it is the comfort food combination of pork chops with savory rice.  Or maybe it is the easy one-pan preparation.  Whatever it is, you're sure to love this updated, one-pan, comforting Forgotten Pork Chops dinner.  Pork Chops and Rice with Cream of Mushroom Soup (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  When you purchase through these links I receive a small compensation.)  So you might wonder why I updated the recipe. Like most recipes that are part of my menu rotation, a tweak here or there is customary. I encourage you to do the same.  A tweak here to there will make the recipe your own. 

Can You Make Better Bacon in Water?

What is the best way to cook crisp, tender bacon? Today, let's investigate a new method for cooking bacon on the stove that I'm seeing suggested as a technique that will change your life.  It's frying your bacon in a pan with a small amount of water.  Is cooking bacon with a bit of water in the pan a better way to make bacon? How to Cook Bacon in Water This is a simple, relatively fast way to make perfectly cooked bacon every time. Whether you are looking to impress your guests with a decadent breakfast or just want to enjoy a delicious bacon treat, this technique is the perfect solution.

Spicy Italian Sausage Soup

Is soup your jam in winter? Through the fall and winter months, I like to make a big pot of soup at least once a week.  We'll have it for dinner and then for lunches until it is gone.  Today's recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage Soup is one of those hearty soups that will be perfect with a piece of crusty bread for dipping. Italian Sausage Soup to Spice Up Your Life This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.   Serve Up Spicy Italian Sausage Soup This soup is a flavorful and hearty Italian-inspired dish that combines the rich flavors of sweet and hot Italian sausages with fresh vegetables like red pepper, celery, onion, potatoes, and kale. It's simmered in a savory chicken stock and seasoned with Italian herbs for a deliciously satisfying meal.