Wine Conundrum – What To Pair With A 15.5% ABV Wine

I participated in the Snooth Virtual Tasting last night of wines from Lodi, Ca. I have never visited Lodi and it was fun to hear how into the wines the two guys from Lodi were. It’s also always great to see Greg Dal Piaz interact with winemakers. I tasted two of the wines which were sent to me as samples by Snooth, the 2010 Klinker Brick Winery Old Vine Zinfandel and the 2011 Uvaggio Vermentino. The Vermentino was a perfectly nice wine although I know that I will always buy an Italian Vermentino over an American one. I just prefer the original source and am quite partial to Italian Vermentino specifically.

Klinker Brick

That said, I was excited to try the old vine Zin from Klinker Brick. I liked it and was impressed that it seemed balanced despite the fact that it was a very big wine. So big in fact that it had a whopping 15.5% ABV. That’s considerable alcohol for someone like me, meaning a woman. I find that I can’t sustain that level of alcohol. My conundrum though, for those who can weather that alcohol is what to pair with it. The Reverse Wine Snob who was also participating in the tasting mentioned that he thought it had port-like aromas. He wasn’t wrong. While I found spice, chocolate, cedar, and plummy notes on the palate, I did also note sweet tones on the finish.

I began to think of it more as a port-like pairing as well, perhaps with chocolate or cheese after a meal. My question though is can you ever pair a 15.5% ABV wine? Barbecue and grilled meats were really the only pairings that came to mind for me. Certainly not an everyday wine but interesting nonetheless.

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