Robert Mondavi Woodbridge 2009 California Zinfandel

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​This writer made a simple dinner last night of brown rice, freshly pulled chard and kale from the garden, a handful of off-season wild porcini from -- oops, almost gave away my patch! -- and several steaks of a hand-harvested lingcod, which we lathered with coconut oil and sesame seeds and broiled.

We also violated every law in the books by "pairing" this improvised fish dinner to a red wine. We did it shamelessly, with full knowledge of our crime, for the back of the bottle recommended a flank of steak as the appropriate match to the wine's zesty yet robust body, its flavors of dark fruits and vanilla, and its tannic but polished finish.

But in spite of the hallowed dogma that states we must drink red wines with red meats, guess what? The world kept turning, the sun remained on course, gravity still worked, and we lingered long and happily over the meal. Everyone enjoyed it and complimented the Zinfandel for its virtues and praised the succulent fish. Not a single guest said that a red wine would not do with this meal, or vice versa. To this writer, who has scarcely gnawed on mammal flesh for years and has also favored red wines for his entire postcollege wine-drinking life, this four-star smashing meal was just business as usual.

To cap off this week's cheap wine recommendation, we suggest the Woodbridge 2009 California Zinfandel, made by Robert Mondavi and a fine companion to a meal of, well, don't think too hard about it.

Robert Mondavi Woodbridge 2009 California Zinfandel
: $7.99 at Cala Foods 1095 Hyde (at California), 776-3650

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