The name alone grabs your attention. The price probably makes you want to forget it. Depending on your level of wine ‘sophistication’, you’re either WAY past this wine or not in the same league! Seriously, most people try zinfandels because they think that it’s the same as (oh my), white zinfandel. Many times, when these troubadours make it home with their new-found selection, they’re disappointed to find a red wine and not a ‘pink’ wine. ‘YUCK!’
Anytime we see the word ‘Zen’, we immediately think of the book from high school, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book describes, in first person, a 17-day journey on his motorcycle from Minnesota to California by the author (though he is not identified in the book) and his son Chris, joined for the first nine days by close friends John and Sylvia Sutherland. The trip is punctuated by numerous philosophical discussions, referred to as Chautauquas by the author, on topics including epistemology, ethical emotivism and the philosophy of science. Not a real exciting piece of literature when you’re 17 years old, and you’d rather be ANYWHERE other than English class! No offense, just sayin’!
When we saw this wine, we also thought about zen…you know, zen, it emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen (not to be confused with Zazu from The Lion King!) and interaction with an accomplished teacher. . .HUH?
Ultimately we have a wine from the folks at Ravenswood. Not a bad name when it comes to producing quality zinfandel wines at reasonable prices. According to several sources, “and this wine is Ravenswood at its’ quirky best. A blend of old vine Zinfandel from great sources throughout California, expertly married by Joel Peterson to make this vibrant, fruity, in your face Zinfandel. Perfect with just about anything, hey that’s the Zen part, but really good with anything fresh from the grill.” Unlike lesser zinfandels, Zen of Zin is not a fruit bomb — it has real tannins, and a dry finish. It’s not complex or superb, but there’s almost nothing wrong with it. Nothing sticking out here. Nothing poking your taste buds there. It’s opulent and affordable, but there’s something missing. While it’s label is highly unattractive, the wine itself takes the entire time the bottle has been opened to air out. For a $9-$10 bottle of wine, we’ve tried a lot of others that deliver the taste, the complexity and the importance to get the job done, but this one doesn’t fit the bill!
Even after 327 days, we’re finding wines that may not be worth the investment. We’ve definitely found some new ones that will make return appearances in the months ahead, but we are still looking for those value-priced wines with the killer tastes! We know that within the next 43 days (or however many) that we’ll find some additional bottles that knock our socks off. . .this on didn’t.
Whether you’re looking for Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or Zen as a form of relaxation, you won’t find either of them in the 2011 Zen of Zin from Ravenswood. Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.