Dashe 2007 L'Enfant Terrible Zinfandel: New World Zin, Old-World Style

9/15/2008 -

We scarcely believed it either, but big, juicy cheeseburgers seemed a good enough reason to try the latest release from Michael Dashe: 2007 Zinfandel L'Enfant Terrible. First, what it is not: it is not crazy high in alcohol (13.8%), not over-extracted, not jammy, and does not taste like cough-syrup. So what is it?  It's startlingly good: something like good Zweigelt, with the body of Pinot Noir and a flavor profile reminiscent of Cabernet Franc... and yet it's different from all of these, and true to its California roots is fruit-driven and varietally correct.  With a slight chill it was what Zinfandel should be, and it was perfect with the burgers.

L'Enfant Terrible is made from organic grapes from Guinness McFadden's Farm in Potter Valley in Mendocino, one of California's most northern grape growing regions. As Michael Dashe described it in the San Francisco Chronicle, the fruit was "light colored and reasonably cropped."  It is made with native yeasts, the smallest amount of sulfur possible and minimal intervention; it is a new-world wine for those with an old-world palate.  It is pure, fresh, and aromatic, dominated by aromas of mixed berries with a strong note of blue fruits. Sweet herbs and a subtle menthol-tobacco quality add complexity. The rumor's true, this is California Zin at its most delicious

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