Wine Wednesdays – Cioppino Night

I can’t think of anything better than a rich, hearty, seafood stew on a cold night, unless that meal is paired with two lovely red wines, now we’re talking!  Family friends treated us to homemade cioppino.  We brought an Italian Cabernet Franc and they opened a Napa Malbec and an older vintage of one of my favorite Zinfadels.  It was a feast of epic proportions!
Anyone know the origin of “cioppino”??  Supposedly this dish originated in San Francisco, the fishermen would all “chip in” from that day’s catch to a big pot of tomato based stew, and the “chip in” turned into “cioppino” and there you have it!   

As for the wines:  we started with the 2013 Cabernet Franc from Le Monde.  Hailing from Fruili Grave in Italy, the wine was light, bright, and acidic which helped to cut through the rich tomato-based sauce.  The wine is also fermented and aged in stainless steel (no oak) which keeps it light and fresh.    
Next up, Hendry 2014 Malbec.  Based in Napa, Hendry will often bottle small lots of single Bordeaux varietals.  The wine was an intense dark purple color with earthy, leathery notes.  I found the tannins overpowering in this one, not my favorite of the night.  

Last but certainly not least, this 2005 Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel from Nickel & Nickel.  I had the 2009 last spring and loved it, this was even more delicious!  The vineyard was located in the Russian River Valley, so cooler climate and 80+ year old vines make way for low yields, concentrated fruit and flavors.  Even at 11 years old, it was still very fruit-forward with ripe, jammy flavors that coated the mouth in the most luxurious way!  A touch of oak and spice rounded out the finish.  It was perfect to cap off the night with Ina’s brownie skillet, homemade caramel sauce (salted and rosemary flavors) and quite possibly the best ice cream out there!

2013 Le Monde Cabernet Franc – $18 retail
2014 Hendry Malbec – $29 retail
2005 Nickel & Nickel Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel – $40

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