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I’m a fan of Zinfandel. I’m a fan of Primitivo. I’m a fan of Apassimento. I’m a fan of big robust looking bottles. I’m a fan of Spaghetti Westerns. If you were to pull together a marketing focus group to design a bottle of wine I might buy, then this is probably what it would look like.

We opened this one to drink in short intermissions whilst playing Red Dead Redemption 2. The sharp eyed among you will have noticed that RDR2 is a single player game, yet I said “we” were playing.

The middle aged eyed among you will empathize with the fact that on video games the font is too small and things happen to quickly, and you can’t focus both on the action and the heads up display and the handy hints, so we play as a couch co-op with one person wielding the controls and the other spotting hazards and opportunities and shouting pointlessly about them.

So, onto the wine. The bottle is reassuringly heavy and unlikely to be kicked over during a shoot out. It’s a deep dark red with some legs. It smells of fresh berries and cooked spice, with vanilla and cinnamon, like a blackberry crumble.

It’s dry, but that fruit adds a sensation of sweetness. The fruit seems to turn more plum like in the mouth and the vanilla gives way to more intense spices with a bit of bite. The tannins are ripe.

At 14.5% it’s more of a sipper than a glugger, and the flavor encourages a slow approach. There’s lots going on and it feels full bodied, full flavored and ready to take on the world.

It’s an odd concept, an Italian wine, made from an Italian grape, in a very Italian Appassimento style marketed to look like an American wine, with the grape translated into American English. I can’t explain it, but I guess people know they like Zinfandel and are nervous of trying Primitivo, if it gets people to try something new then hurrah for odd marketing ideas.

It’s sensibly priced and available through Laithwaites, so if you see it in stock, stock up.

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I have family in Yorkshire, they like to give me Yorkshire based gifts.  Whilst I love Henderson’s Relish and Yorkshire Rhubarb, Yorkshire wine wasn’t a real hit.  Maybe this year’s vintage will have enjoyed some sun and will be a delight, I’m sure I’ll find out soon.  I was pleased to see that this bottle from Yorkshire was gin.  I’ve never seen a Yorkshire gin before, but as everyone seems to be turning their coal shed into an artisan distillery, it was only a matter of time.

For those of you from outside England, Sir Robin of Loxley may be better known to you as Robin Hood, perhaps not a man known for sipping cold gin or mixing a mean Martini, but there’s no historical evidence to suggest he didn’t steal gin from the rich and mix it with the tonic of the poor.

The gin is clean and bright.  It smells of citrus and something wild and forest-like.  That may be me adding a little romantic touch to the smell, but I think it’s more likely to be the dandelion coming through.  Sadly no burdock, but I’m sure a shed in Scotland is working on that right now.  There’s elder flower too.

This is a real gin, with plenty of juniper, which is complemented by the botanicals, particularly the dandelion, elder flower and grapefruit flavours.  There’s an odd tendency to make gins with ever more outlandish botanicals that flood the palate and drown out the gin.  Whilst several of them make really nice drinks, a raspberry gin with lemonade is a delight, but it’s not gin as we know it, some are just downright awful drinks designed for people who don’t like gin, but want to order it anyway – I’m looking at you “salted caramel gin”.

At 40.5% it’s a sensible alcohol level, in the Goldilocks zone.  I’d gladly choose this gin for a G&T or a Gibson, because it’s good rather than because it’s a Yorkshire one, or Robin Hood’s choice.  Maybe I’ll give Yorkshire Rhubarb gin a go, one day.

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