Wine O’clock: Sumptuary Amador County Zinfandel 2007

12 Feb

Tonight’s wine comes with an interesting story.  I’ll let one of the big men behind the Barriques empire, Finn Berge, set the scene:

Sumptuary.  Kinda like Sanctuary but not.  That is of course unless you’re a trademark lawyer.  This will come as no surprise to any of you but I am not a lawyer and therefore when I heard about the David versus Goliath struggle between Tom Meadowcroft(David) and Brown Forman(Goliath) I just shook my head.  However, I stopped shaking my when I heard the end of the story where poor David lost the battle with Goliath and was ordered by the courts to sell off 900 cases of very spectacular Zin at lower then rock bottom prices.  Sniff, sniff…ah, opportunity!  But let’s back up a second.

Tom Meadowcroft operates a small 15,000 case a year winery in Cali.  They produce 4 different specialty wines including a Zinfandel called Sumptuary from Amador County.  Sumptuary comes from ancient Greece and Rome referring to laws controlling extravagance and morals of social hierarchies in society.  Brown Forman on the other hand, is one of the largest liquor and wine companies in the world.  They produce a wine called Sanctuary which is a compilation of juice from various appellations in California.  Now I’m betting that you wouldn’t confuse the two wines pictured below.

Sumptuary ZinfandelSanctuary

The lawyers for Brown Forman disagreed and forced Meadowcroft to stop selling the Sumptuary.  He was given 90 days to unload his remaining 900 cases which is where we left off.

Tough break for the little guy.  The least I could do was grab a bottle at what amounts to little more than half of its pre-litigation selling price.  This is my first time with a zin.  I hope she’s gentle.

Wine: Sumptuary Amador County Zinfandel 2007

Vitals: 14.9% abv; Region – Amador County, California; Grapes – 100% Zinfandel

Company line: sealed by court order or something.  There’s nothing.  Really.

My take: sits a vibrant, translucent  ruby red in the glass.  Nose explodes with blackberry and currant – extremely ripe and juicy.  Palate is brash with semi-sweet dark red fruits, brown sugar and spice.  Mouthfeel is juicy with a powdery finish that coats the mouth and demands another sip.  Sumptuary is fruity, warming, and pulls no punches.  A lot of wine for $10.99 (or $9.29 if you e-mail the big man asap).  Don’t worry, big guy.  Dudes can drink zin, too.  This ain’t no Franzia.

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