I just got my new issue of Food and Wine magazine; and learned that red blends are very trendy and popular right now. This is great news, as I have always loved the unique nature of blends. Today's market features a wide variety of blends, from your garden variety "casserole" wine to highly complex "filet mignon" wines. One wine that I really loved from last year's tastings came to mind immediately as I was reading; the 2009 Parduxx from the makers of Duckhorn.
Paraduxx is THE only winery in Napa that is entirely devoted to blends, and what lovely blends they make! This Z blend was released in February of 2012, and is 62% Zindfandel (which is where the Z comes from), 31% Cabernet, and 7% Merlot. This unique combination has all the intensity of a fine Zinfandel, with the structured tannins of a Cabernet and a hint of softness from the Merlot. A very bold and "in-your-face" wine, it has hints of fine spice such as clove, juniper and allspice in the middle notes, which is a nice follow up to the raspberry forenote. It has a creamy feel to it, and is very strong without being harsh like some zinfandels can be.
This Z blend was aged 16 months in oak and has a distinct toasty oak flavor which adds to its grandeur. Although the Paraduxx website is showing it as sold out, a careful shopper may be able to find some in wine shops or on the web. I haven't yet tasted the 2011 which is available from Paraduxx, but given the high standards shown by this winery, I am sure it is equally divine.
Food Pairings - The Z-blend would stand up very well to spicy foods, such as a nice Indian Vindaloo or a Panang Thai Curry. I would also pair it with chocolate laced with hot peppers, or a beautiful steak salad
Music Pairings - This is a wine far too regal for rock and roll - I would pair it with the bold brass and percussion found in Schuman's 8th symphony while enjoying an exotic, spicy dinner.
Activity Pairings: Sophisticated yet rugged activities pair well with the Z-blend - I would drink it while watching tennis, soccer, or even polo!