Now, last and not least, Peterson’s Il Granaio – the Barn. I currently have the ’05, ’06, and ’08 vintages in my cellar. This is one I’ve been buying for years and it keeps getting better as Peterson experiments with and varies the blend. This used to be a Sangiovese and Cab/Merlot blend but they switched to Sangiovese and Rhone varietal blending in 2008. Both are Killer. The ’08 was a bit abrupt at first but has improved with bottle age already. The Rhone varietals in the blend should make it more approachable early, I suppose, but I’m ‘reserving’ (eww, bad pun) judgement until I’ve cellared it a while longer.
When I go for a Dry Creek Zinfandel, I’m prepared for spice and jam. Dry Creek has made a name for itself for turning out great, and often full, jammy Zinfandels. The typical style has a lot of dark berries and fruits and then the spices kick in on the finish. With this in my brain, on a cold November evening, I tried the Peterson Zinfandel. I should have read the label. Yes, it’s from Dry Creek, but NO this is not your typical Dry Creek Zin. The Peterson Zin is intended to be more of the Claret style. The body is lighter, the acidity is higher, and the wine leans more towards the earth and spice than the fruit, though there are definitely the usual dark berry notes there. The Peterson Zinfandel wine is absolutely a food wine. It will go really well with richer dishes that need something to cut through the fat. Shortribs would be my pick, or any slow-cooked, rich meat. I would stay away from pairing this with leaner meats, fish, or anything too delicate because the acidity and spice will kill it. On a nerdy wine geek note, if you’re looking for something to hold for a couple years, this would be an interesting choice. Yes, this wine is fine to drink now with your short ribs, but it will definitely be better with some age on it. So buy too bottles, and in two years, you’ll enjoy an even more balanced Claret!
Caitlin is an oenophile and sommelier based on the East Coast (though in her mind, she splits her time between her imaginary vineyards in Sonoma and Bordeaux). Caitlin has had the pleasure to spend many years working in restaurants with some great wine lists, and learning from wonderful wine and food professionals. Above all, she has a great respect and love for a great pairing, the industry, the creators, and the grapes! Cheers!