Snob Buster

I looked down on it with disdain. It was below me. I'd wallowed in that mud before. Why waste the time?

For some reason it always grabbed my attention. I walked by time and time again with the self righteous boredom of a commuter passing the same pan handler every day. Yet there was something about it that caught my eye. Finally, with a sneer I picked up the bottle.  An $8 California zinfandel? I knew what that meant - overripe, sweet purple glop. A perfect example of low budget spoofulation. A glutton for punishment, I picked up the bottle using wine blog fodder as an excuse.

I took a sip. Then another. Could I be having a bad palate day? I took a gulp, then another. I liked it. What was up with that?

The next morning I snickered at myself. What could I have been thinking? Yet my next trip to the store that floor stacking was calling, almost challenging me again. I gave in and bought another bottle. The second tasting not only confirmed my first feelings about this wine, I even liked it better.

First of all it really tastes like zinfandel with a lovely briary, raspberry fruit that tastes like wine, not jam. Then there is the refreshingly medium body at an easy 13% alcohol and zesty touch of acidity that livens up the finish. This is a very nice wine and a nice wine it all it is and I think that's great. The world's full of great wines these days, but a charming bottle of zinfandel for under ten bucks is really hard to come by.

The wine? The 2007 Green Bridge Paso Robles Organically Grown Zinfandel is a real steal ($7.99 Whole Foods). Compared to the bland and/or jammy-sweet cabernet and merlot being sold in this price range it's a miracle. Green Bridge delivers real wine instead of industrial purple plonk. It's varietal in character, balanced and perfect for everyday meals, while offering more than enough character for occasions that demand good wine that won't break the bank. It's too bad more zinfandel like this is not produced. After all, can you think of a better wine to be America's everyday go to wine? How in the world did merlot steal that job away?

Often I like simple easy meals. That doesn't mean that I don't expect the food to be flavorful and fresh. The same goes for the wines I like to drink with those meals. It's great to finally find such a wine so close to home.