We were bowled over in 2002 when the first Red Truck wine, a lively California blend of syrah, petite syrah, cabernet franc, mourvedre and grenache grapes, was introduced. The Sonoma-based winery has grown over the last 10 years, still producing a red blend but adding many varietals under the original Red Truck label as well as White Truck, Pink Truck and Green Truck, the latter offering wines made from organically grown grapes.
The 2009 Green Truck Mendocino County Zinfandel (about $11 at big-box stores) is true to the spirit of the first Red Truck blend in its forthrightly fruit-forward expression of the brash grape's considerable charm. The nose is unmistakably bramble and cherry cola, and both burst on the tongue, too, underpinned by luscious dark notes of fig and blackberry. On the modest finish, a hint of licorice adds a whimsical grace note.
This is a fine table wine as well as a good cool weather social sipper. We'd pair it with everyday fare like ziti baked with marinara and ricotta or cheeseburgers with sliced red onion.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.