Wine, vin, vino, wein. Fermented grapes have never been as popular as they are right now. The innocuous intoxicant is a vice living proudly in the mainstream. In a culture where smoking is prohibited indoors, 18-year-old’s sneak beer under the bleachers and online poker has attracted federal legislation, wine is not only accepted; it’s healthy!

Consider for your approval: the Michael-David wine family. Domestically produced in Lodi, in the heart of California’s wine country, wine maker Franck Lambert and the Phillips family have produced some very interesting concoctions.

Their seven sub-brands include: a reserve called Earthquake; 7 Heavenly Chards, a Chardonnay aged in seven kinds of French oak; 6th Sense Syrah; Windmill Estates, their premium label; Don’s Red, named for the owners’ father; Sparkling Duet, which is the first sparkling wine produced with 100 percent local grapes; and the two labels we took a look at—7 Deadly Zins and Incognito White.

The 2004 7 Deadly Zins is a 14.9 percent alcohol by volume red wine and is Michael-David’s primary Zinfandel. It is a very flavorful blend with an almost chocolate overtone. The bouquet combines raspberry jam, molasses and cinnamon toast flavors. This one has romance written all over it from the label to sensual flavors.

The wine is a blend of old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot aged in American Oak.

Americans have become accustomed to bold, dry wine, so be ready for something different with the Zins. This is a sweet, velvety wine. Pair it with a medium rare porterhouse with a buttery sauce. Michael-David recommends BBQ’d salmon as well. It works just as well as an after dinner drink and goes great with dark chocolate. It goes for a reasonable $17.00 and you can find it at the Lodi Vineyards website.

Incognito 2005 Viognier uses a grape originally found in France. This white mixes pineapple and honeydew melon with orange blossoms and honeysuckle, yielding in incredibly sweet and fruity product. It clocks in at 15 percent alcohol by volume and finishes strong.

Michael-David recommends pairing it with brunch food or sushi. I’d also recommend trying it out with a fennel-roasted pork loin or pasta with a non-red sauce.

First impressions saw a few mixed results. It’s another very different wine that you may not be used to. It gave the impression of a premium fruit-flavored White Zinfandel. The crew of Blast reporters, editors and general well wishers preferred the red 7 Deadly Zins. Both have striking flavors and can pair well with meals. Incognito is quite sweet, so if that’s your pleasure, you won’t be let down. I tend to go for the drier side, but the 7 Deadly Zins struck me. This is a bottle you pull out for the significant other to give the homemade meal a fancy touch.

Michael-David Winery is a family establishment. According to the company, the two brothers handle the wine, father, Don tends vegetables, and their mother, Jeanne, tends the French gardens and a pumpkin patch that brings in children from throughout the region come October. They also collectively run a caf© on the grounds and offer wine tasting sessions constantly.

Give these a try, especially if you’re bored with the $10 liquor store special.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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