Zinfandel Tasting and A Little History

Tonight at the Wine Cellar, Jeff will be starting his education series as he himself is doing the pouring. He will be showcasing red Zinfandel with 3 in a range from light to full bodied and 2 old vine Zins from 68-100 year old wines.

Hailing from Croatia, Zinfandel originally made its way into the United States in 1829 via Long Island New York before it was first planted in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in 1859.  The style of Zinfandel can be quite varied, from over the top fruit bombs, to soft and subtle gems, to jammy exotic Ports and any combination of those three.  In California, Zinfandel is the only grape that comes close to Cabernet Sauvignon with respect to acreage and crushed juice volume and has recently taken some of the spotlight off of the King of California, Mr. Cabernet.  As mentioned above, Jeff is going to show us 2 good example of Old Vine Zins, but what exactly is the definition of “Old Vine”.  Well in fact nothing defines the “Old Vine” labeling of Zinfandels and that subject has been talked about greatly, and this year was a huge topic across the blogosphere.  Certain winemakers such as Joel Peterson from Ravenswood winery define Old Vines as those between 50 and 80 years old and anything over 80 years of age as Ancient vines.  David Gates of Ridge Winery bases his definition of Old Vine on any vines that are 50 years of age and older.  And the list goes on and on of famous Zinfandel producers most of whom give, what I feel, good definitions of what they consider to be old, but in fact if they wanted to name 10 year old vines as “Old”, they could. Not that there is anything wrong with that. (Seinfeld reference)

So come check out what Jeff has to offer tonight and see if Old Vine does make a difference, and get your palette trained on Red Zinfandel.

See you tonight from 5:00 to 8:00 and FREE as always.


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Categories: old vine, ridge, wine cellar, wine industry issues, wine tasting, Zinfandel | Leave a comment

Wine Tasting – 1998 Ridge Lytton Springs

This is one of the wines we had last night for Thanksgiving dinner. Melissa and Eric (my in laws) picked this up while they were out in Santa Cruz a few weeks ago visiting my sister in law. So we were quite excited to be trying this Zin, one because it is a Ridge wine and two, because it was a ’98 Zin. So even though I am jumping ahead about 20 wines in my tasting notebook, I figured I would go ahead and post it since it was for the holiday.

Here is the breakdown of the varietals that went into the wine: 77% Zin, 16% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, 4% Mataro, and 1% Alicante Boushcet.

Sorry I didn’t nab any pictures of the bottle but here are my tasting notes.

My tasting notes –

Nose – Blackberry, chocolate, copper and cut grass

Taste – Sherry, Raspberry, Herbs

Mouthfeel – Medium almost light body, silky smooth across the mid palate

Finish – very long and had quite a grip

This was like no other Zin that I or Megan have had. Not fruit forward and jammy, and in fact, of the fruit that was present, the aroma and flavors weren’t very powerful. It was also very light bodied for what I feel a Zin should be like. All that being said, I really enjoyed it and thought it was quite a good and well made wine.

I think they paid $50 for it at the winery and I am not sure if you can find it in stores anymore.

I hope everybody had a safe and fun holiday.

Categories: ridge, wine review, wine tasting | Leave a comment