A Friday night lay ahead, so what's a girl to do but drink wine to get things started? A pal and I settled on a Zinfandel; we each grabbed a bottle and met with several others before our adventures.
I went with a 2009 from Four Vines, dubbed Old Vines Cuvee, and my friend got a 2012 Old Zin Vines by Oak Ridge Winery. The former is crafted with grapes from multiple vineyards throughout central California, and the latter is from Lodi—a product of the oldest operating winery in the region, according to its website. With our OVC and OZV in hand, we were ready to taste.
Each was unique in its own way. The Old Zin Vines gave an immediate burst of spice on the tongue, which one friend described as "warming spices"; another friend said it had "a lot of bite." From there, cinnamon smoothed into jammy fruit, ending with a long velvety finish that held a delectable hint of cocoa.
The Old Vines Cuvee was decidedly different, with the fruit up front in powerful aromas of fig and raspberry. The scents dissipated only slightly after time in the glass. The finish was shorter, but still pleasant. The taste of dried fruits permeated with "less of a bite," according to our "bite" expert.
Thanks to our hostess, we enjoyed the wines with an assortment of appetizers. The Old Zin Vines went well with a veggie dip full of garlic and spices. The Old Vines Cuvee preferred a strong cheese—in this case Asiago, but aged cheddar would be a great match, as well.
In the end, our group was split. The OVC won a close match for me—maybe just my ego talking, as it was my purchase. Either way, after sharing two bottles, we all felt like winners, hitting South Park with a sufficient buzz.