Zinfandel

A Glass Half Full

7 September 2011

When a men’s room flood shorts out a circuit panel and your office building loses power for two days, there’s just one thing to do: Braise some celery and open a half-bottle of Zinfandel.

We slow-braised celery (seriously) with onions, garlic, tomato paste, fresh black olives, red pepper flakes and a hefty dose of olive oil. There’s no denying it’s an unorthodox dish, but it tastes absolutely delicious — hearty, savory and spicy, with a wisp of bitterness underneath. You can find the recipe here.

I reheated some for a light dinner, and I looked around in my collection for something big to pair with it. I found some good candidates, but I was dining alone, and opening a full bottle seemed a bit of a waste. Even I can’t put away an entire bottle. Or, well, it seemed unwise on a weeknight, certainly. Fortunately, I had a half bottle of what turned out to be a delightful 2009 Tin Barn Vineyards Zinfandel.

Zinfandel from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley can hardly be classified as obscure, but half bottles of anything other than dessert wines are still surprisingly rare. Even the largest wine stores tend to have just a corner devoted to them. It’s odd and unfortunate, because half bottles come in quite handy.

I frequently drink alone for this blog, I will freely admit, and it would be ever so much less wasteful to uncork half bottles. Typically, I’ll taste only about 1/3 of a full bottle before calling it a night. I’ll spray a blanket of inert gas on the remainder, which sits undisturbed on my counter or in my fridge for approximately four days, after which time I feel less guilty about pouring it down the drain. A half bottle solves this problem, allowing me to proceed with my important blogging work guilt-free.

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