ZinfanZinfandel wasn’t out of the question but it had long been forgotten as the easy answer to pairing with burgers. After other varietals that will often show more balance—in terms of alcohol—I’ve been guilty of putting Zinfandel (my first wine romance) on the back burner while seeking obscure wines that would also pair well, until last week, when I had a rare steak dinner—the steak itself being odd, but not rare.

Rummaging through my cellar I found a bottle of 2007 Seghesio “Home Ranch” Zinfandel, cooling comfortably in the depths that was a fitting candidate for that random repast.

Six ounces apiece were shared into stems the while dinner materialized.

When everything was plated, we cheersed (sic) to an opaque garnet Zinfandel redolent of blackberry and licorice with minor developing notes of leather. On the palate, it had married that opulent black fruit bramble with vanilla and coffee on a marvelously long finish. The Zinfandel packed a Stephen Segal-like punch, swiftly striking with seamlessly integrated HIGH ABV (15.5%), and before I knew it, we were both buzzed.

It fit the occasion, taming the beef like a ranch hand. Seghesio was one of the first wineries I fell in love with after spending a lot of time in Sonoma County, and after seeing this bottle of 2007 Home Ranch Zinfandel in action I still see the appeal.