Wine: Columbus by way of California

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From the August 14, 2014 edition

Columbus is famous for plenty of things, including, of late, a craft-beer scene that's attracted a lot of attention (and rightly so).

When it comes to adult beverages, is wine next?

Another wine with local connections has joined the scene. This one's a zinfandel made from Sonoma County grapes by Scott Zanon, an Upper Arlington dweller who crafts the wine himself — in California.

That's right, Zanon felt so strongly about his life-long drinking love, zinfandel (and his attempts to find the perfect bottle), that he decided to buy grapes and rent equipment and space from a family winery in Dry Creek Valley, then travel there to see the wine through himself.

Aging the juice in American oak and adding a bit of petite sirah, syrah and sangiovese (no more than 15 percent all together) creates a bold mouth-feel with a just-right oaky flavor in the 2011 Zanon Zinfandel ($19 at Hills Market Worthington).

A fun little tasting experiment (that requires no cooking): try a bite of chocolate between sips. Zinfandel and chocolate are a strong pairing, but this particular one might be especially. Since it's not overly tannic or alcoholic, you can pick out the different flavors between the two — and each plays off the other well.

Its dry, berry-like fruity flavor seems to beg for something fresh off the grill, slightly charred.

And since California is zinfandel's home base, there's never been a better combination than to have one dreamed-up-and-distributed in Ohio.

Photo by Meghan Ralston