It was a “magical” yacht voyage and a beneficial relationship with Oregon’s David O’Rielly that allowed ZanZibar Cellars to burst onto the Willamette Valley winemaking scene a few years ago. Winemaker Ziad Keirouz’s young-adult voyage to exotic locales ended with the realization that a life of engineering was not for him. Meeting David while researching the benefits of a winemaker’s life afterward provided a firm sense of placement for a new career. Thus, the ZanZibar’s Northwest wines are created with Washington State grapes in the equipment at David O’Rielly’s Owen Roe facilities.
I first encountered the wine a few years ago from several customers. After sampling this new wine at an event, restaurant or winery, they would come to Salut! and gush praise for the “massive and exuberant” Sandra they had tasted. When I finally had the chance to taste it for myself, I had to agree. The flavors were bold, extraction was complete, and the lush, sexy appeal comes from a full and velvety experience.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah from Columbia valley vineyards. Grapes are hand harvested and undergo small batch whole berry fermentation and extended maceration to ensure the development of remarkable and supple structure and body. Malolactic fermentation is completed in 100% new French oak barrels, where the wine continues to age and mature for 12 months until it is bottled. It will then be cellared for the next 12 months before it is released.
You’re going to want to drink a glass of this wine before dinner, with hearty appetizers, to appreciate its full depth. Then, let the wine carry you into a big meal with the second glass. Beware, however…there won’t be too many wines that can follow it willingly. Perhaps just have a second bottle ready to go.
If you want to experience more from ZanZibar, there’s a unique “Sandra Solera” created from multiple vintages of the Sandra blends. Each year, a limited 2 barrels are blended with past vintages to form a unique expression of Ziad’s work. It sells out quickly, but let me know if you want me to seek out this wine for you.
This wine is regularly sold for $48.99
- Visit the ZanZibar Cellars website
- Read a full article about the development of ZanZibar Cellars at AvalonWine.com
- Learn about the Solera system, used almost exclusively in Spain and Madeira to create blends from year to year.
- Watch Billy Joel play and sing “Zanzibar” (the motivation for naming the winery)
- Check out Owen Roe‘s website for more of our favorite wines of the Northwest.
- See our Best Wines on Planet Earth post about Owen Roe’s Ex Umbris Syrah
- Here’s an array of hearty appetizer recipes from Better Homes & Gardens
- This might be a time to try Buffalo recipes from Blue Stem Buffalo
Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.