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Thread: Zin Notes

  1. #1
    Bill S. Guest

    Default Zin Notes

    We did a Zinfandel blind tasting recently, a departure for most of us
    that rarely drink zins (although I have been a long time fan).

    First wine was a starter, not in theme.

    2009 Vincent Raimbault Vouvray – initial impression was sulphur and
    more sulphur, but it did slowly blow off leaving some melon in its
    wake. Sweetish entry but OK acidity. so so.

    1979 Monterey Peninsula Winery Wilpete Farms Willow Creek Zinfandel
    (13.9% - I figured that I’d fool them and bring a really venerable
    bottle that I’d picked up in the early 80s at the winery when I’d been
    down in Monterey racing old sports cars. Well, it wasn’t really at
    the winery, it was at a small sales room off the main road where all
    sorts of things were sold. I recall standing next to a rather large
    (and loud) lady at the tasting room bar. We were tasting through a
    range of single vineyard low production zins. She said (well, more
    bellowed) that the ‘Monterey Nights’ (or whatever forgettable name it
    was called) red wine she’d just tasted was ‘Damned fine” and that
    she’d buy a gallon jug…..

    This wine was huge when young and needed many years to become
    drinkable. I’d opened a bottle a few years ago and it was corked, so I
    crossed my fingers and tried my last one. The wine was almost pinot
    noir in colour, although without the brick tinge normally found with
    mature pinots. The mature nose had some spice interest. The wine slid
    across the tongue smoothly (as, I suppose, had the Monterey Nights,
    come to that, but I refrained from finding out back in the day), and
    had lost all tannin, but retained some cassis flavour and medium
    length. Everyone pretty much liked it.

    2007 Peter Franus Napa Zin – instant blueberries in the glass, sweet
    entry, soft and long (not the desired combination for every occasion…)
    finishing sweet. Vanilla was the one note that pretty much dominated
    this. Not a big fan.

    1997 Turley Old Vines Zin – the first of a string of Turleys, this one
    is the blended version and it ultimately failed to impress me,
    although I immediately (perhaps more luck than skill) said ‘Turley?’
    as soon as I smelled it. Very ripe raspberry fruit nose clean on
    palate with pretty good balance and length but something not quite
    right in the middle. May just be getting to old? 15.1%

    1997 Turley Duarte Zin (Contra Costa County) – I had to pull this out
    (my back up bottle) when the first one appeared. Medium colour (as
    have a lot of these wines at this age), big earthy bramble/blackberry
    nose with some white pepper and spice that followed through on palate.
    several rungs up from the Old Vines. 15.5%

    1997 Turley Dogtown Zin (Lodi) – perhaps the most pleasurable of the
    three with a fairly sweet berry fruit nose, spicy balanced middle, and
    long soft finish.

    2007 Hendry Block 24 Primitivo – dusty fruit nose with hints of anise,
    huge concentration on palate, and quite sweet. Not sure if this is
    going to improve or if it is as good as it will get. Not my style.
    Presumably used the Primitivo label in an attempt to attract
    attention.

    2007 Scherrer Old and Mature Zin (Alexander Valley) – on the other
    hand, this IS my style of zin. A Rhone/earthy element in the nose and
    more raspberry fruit, nicely rounded and sweet on palate with very
    decent finish. Nice wine.

    1995 Rosenblum Late Harvest Zin – sweet simple nose, with
    concentration overwhelming any complexity, very sweet in the mouth,
    pleasant, and with the fruit settling in as red rather than black
    after a bit. Not bad – I could almost but not quite forgive them for
    using the same sort of foo-foo tall, small diameter half size bottle
    that many of our BC wineries use for their hyped up so called ice
    wines. If you want a zin to serve in little chocolate cups, this is
    it. Also not my style of zin, and a waste of grapes that might
    otherwise have been used in a decent dry wine.

    I preferred some of the old Shenandoah zins that were often high
    proof, less sweet, but came across as better more interesting zin
    based dessert wines, or Andrew Quady’s older ‘Ports’ before he went
    away from zin and into port varietals (I recall a 1978 Lot 2 that was
    particularly memorable.) Heck, I probably prefer Ficklin to the
    Rosenblum, although I haven’t tasted their product recently.

    Mixed but very interesting bag.

  2. #2
    cwdjrxyz Guest

    Default Re: Zin Notes

    On Feb 26, 10:56*am, "Bill S." <wspo...@aol.com> wrote:
    > We did a Zinfandel blind tasting recently, a departure for most of us
    > that rarely drink zins (although I have been a long time fan).


    > 1979 Monterey Peninsula Winery Wilpete Farms Willow Creek Zinfandel
    > (13.9% - I figured that I’d fool them and bring a really venerable
    > bottle that I’d picked up in the early 80s at the winery when I’d been
    > down in Monterey racing old sports cars. *Well, it wasn’t really at
    > the winery, it was at a small sales room off the main road where all
    > sorts of things were sold. *I recall standing next to a rather large
    > (and loud) lady at the tasting room bar. We were tasting through a
    > range of single vineyard low production zins. She said (well, more
    > bellowed) that the ‘Monterey Nights’ (or whatever forgettable name it
    > was called) red wine she’d just tasted was ‘Damned fine” and that
    > she’d buy a gallon jug…..
    >
    > This wine was huge when young and needed many years to become
    > drinkable. I’d opened a bottle a few years ago and it was corked, so I
    > crossed my fingers and tried my last one. The wine was almost pinot
    > noir in colour, although without the brick tinge normally found with
    > mature pinots. The mature nose had some spice interest. The wine slid
    > across the tongue smoothly (as, I suppose, had the Monterey Nights,
    > come to that, but I refrained from finding out back in the day), and
    > had lost all tannin, but retained some cassis flavour and medium
    > length. Everyone pretty much liked it.


    I once had a few bottles of Monterey Peninsula Winery wines. My early
    impression of some of their Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons from
    the 1970s was that they often were as big and dark as some wines from
    David Bruce, and that says a lot. You needed to make an appointment
    with a dentist for cleaning your teeth before drinking some of these
    young monsters :-). I only still have 1 bottle of their 1976 Cabernet
    Sauvignon and a few half bottles of their Ferrero Ranch Late Harvest
    1976 Zinfandel which is dryish. I have not tasted these for several
    years.

  3. #3
    Mark Lipton Guest

    Default Re: Zin Notes

    Bill S. wrote:
    > We did a Zinfandel blind tasting recently, a departure for most of us
    > that rarely drink zins (although I have been a long time fan).


    > 1979 Monterey Peninsula Winery Wilpete Farms Willow Creek Zinfandel
    > (13.9% - I figured that I’d fool them and bring a really venerable
    > bottle that I’d picked up in the early 80s at the winery when I’d been
    > down in Monterey racing old sports cars. Well, it wasn’t really at
    > the winery, it was at a small sales room off the main road where all
    > sorts of things were sold. I recall standing next to a rather large
    > (and loud) lady at the tasting room bar. We were tasting through a
    > range of single vineyard low production zins. She said (well, more
    > bellowed) that the ‘Monterey Nights’ (or whatever forgettable name it
    > was called) red wine she’d just tasted was ‘Damned fine” and that
    > she’d buy a gallon jug…..
    >
    > This wine was huge when young and needed many years to become
    > drinkable. I’d opened a bottle a few years ago and it was corked, so I
    > crossed my fingers and tried my last one. The wine was almost pinot
    > noir in colour, although without the brick tinge normally found with
    > mature pinots. The mature nose had some spice interest. The wine slid
    > across the tongue smoothly (as, I suppose, had the Monterey Nights,
    > come to that, but I refrained from finding out back in the day), and
    > had lost all tannin, but retained some cassis flavour and medium
    > length. Everyone pretty much liked it.


    Fun tasting, Bill, and great story to boot! As I no doubt have
    mentioned before, when I moved to NYC (with two cases of wine in tow) I
    had to adjust to the lack of availability of many of the wines I'd been
    drinking in CA. In '87 or '88, though, Jean and I stumbled across a
    cache of '79 Monterey Peninsula Zin in a small, otherwise forgettable
    liquor store on Broadway near Columbia. For the next few months, we
    drank down their stock which at that point was rounding into shape and
    quite drinkable (owing no doubt to the advanced aging due to poor storage)

    > 1997 Turley Old Vines Zin – the first of a string of Turleys, this one


    IIRC, '97 was the vintage in which Turley turned down the volume
    slightly and started making more balanced wines. Interesting to hear
    how these have aged.


    > 1995 Rosenblum Late Harvest Zin – sweet simple nose, with
    > concentration overwhelming any complexity, very sweet in the mouth,
    > pleasant, and with the fruit settling in as red rather than black
    > after a bit. Not bad – I could almost but not quite forgive them for
    > using the same sort of foo-foo tall, small diameter half size bottle
    > that many of our BC wineries use for their hyped up so called ice
    > wines. If you want a zin to serve in little chocolate cups, this is
    > it. Also not my style of zin, and a waste of grapes that might
    > otherwise have been used in a decent dry wine.


    In the old days ('70s) these "late harvest" Zins were often the result
    of a stuck fermentation. These days, with all the designer yeasts
    available to winemakers, I don't know if stuck fermentations still
    happen, but perhaps we can explain this wine away as an unfortunate
    accident ;-)

    Mark Lipton

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