Smoked beef brisket is a tough pairing- the flavors are so rich and smoky that the wine needs to have spice, body and high levels of alcohol. A Zinfandel seems as close as possible to the perfect match. This one is semi opaque with thick legs showing off its 14.8% ABV. The nose is very aromatic- rich red fruits, spice, black and white pepper alongside toasty oak. The palate is very full bodied with great balance between the rich fruit, medium tannins and medium acidity. Ripe raspberry, redcurrant jam, white pepper and blackberry flavors are all present. It’s not a blockbuster in style but its rich fruit is very enticing. I dig this wine and for $30 it’s a good drop that gets 91 points from me and 5 stars. Drink till 2027. Salut….
My assignment this week for tasting wines included this Old Vine Zin. The format and lexicon of descriptors is very limiting so I must add that this was not my favorite wine. It had a very astringent mid palate and the overpowering whiff on the nose was annoying. It can be had for $25 and gets 87 points from me. I can’t figure out where I got it from though. 3 stars, trending to 2. Drink now till 2025 with some burgers or ribs. Salut….
Girard Old Vine Zinfandel 2017, Napa Valley, CA 15.0% ABV
- Appearance- Medium ruby with thin legs.
- Nose- medium (+) intensity with aromas of blackcurrant, black plum, blackberry, licorice, white pepper. Youthful.
- Palate- Dry, high acidity, medium (+) tannin, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity with flavors of black plum, blackberry, jamminess, white pepper with a medium (+) finish.
- Conclusion- good quality wine that can drink now, but has potential for aging or further aging.
Why do I keep drinking such alcoholic wines? I had to blow into the glass for a few minutes to get the alcohol to dissipate. Not as jammy and peppery as most Old Vine Zins I have tasted but still yummy.
I tasted this wine many moons ago but failed to write notes. When I saw it in the shop it reminded me of friends in California who introduced me to this winery. The wine itself is a pretty shade of purple but is nearly see-through. On the nose I get red berries, a touch of oak and pomegranate. The palate is spicy with a pepper note right off the bat. Dark red raspberries, black berries and sweet currants add to the mix. It is really interesting. The mid palate has a touch of dryness from lithe tannins, the acidity yet to kick in. On the finish this wine shouts out the varietal with lots of white and black pepper, raspberry and blackberry flavors with smoky oak intertwined. It’s not overly complex but really packs those singular fruit flavors. It will drink well till 2025 and handle char-grilled chicken, Filet or even pizza. It gets 88 points from me and for $18- 3 stars. Salut….
I have had a few wines from Lodi recently and am becoming a big fan. Zinfandel is one of their signature grapes so this wine is exciting to me.
As I look at it in the glass it’s a nice shade of opaque purple. I can also smell the waft of fruit from a foot away, always a good sign. The nose is very fruit forward with tons of black berry, dark plums and a cinnamon twist. The palate is misleading- when you smell that much fruit you automatically expect a wine with a touch of sweetness, which I do not look forward to in reds. This wine is not at all sweet- it is rich, concentrated with black fruit and very tasty. There is a core of minerality on the mid palate that mixes it up with some oaky char and anise. I usually expect pepper with this varietal but I’m not getting any. The wine has a nice, balanced mouthfeel with very lithe tannins and supporting acidity. The finish is a fruit salad of black cherry, blackcurrants and blackberry jam. It is mouth filling and satisfying if you like a ton of flavor. I’m enjoying it with some Spaghetti Arrabiata with garlic bread. Kudos to the winemaker for this 90 point effort that I paid $13 for. It gets 5 stars and will drink nicely till 2027. Salut….
I don’t drink Zins very often, but when I find one I like- I remember it and revisit. I was not a huge fan initially of the last Zin I drank, the Turley Zin turned out much better after a day or so.
This one shows semi opaque in the glass and has a lovely reddish hue to the purple color. On the nose I get raspberries, red currants and cinnamon stick. The palate is very rich with a nice thrust of raspberry coulis and mulling spices. There’s a really nice set of tannins that caress the gums without stripping the enamel off my teeth alongside a juicy acidity that hits the mid palate. The red fruit theme continues with some steeped rhubarb and spices. This is not a jammy Zin, but is full bodied with rich flavors and a really nice, long finish. The warmth I get on the backend is also very interesting. Really tasty with a decent level of complexity and aging capacity make this a 91 point wine IMHO. I paid a paltry $9.99 for it but it normally retails for $40. 4 stars with a drinking window till 2027. I’m flash cooking some thin Ribeyes that will pair nicely. Salut….
I picked this bottle up on my trip to the Wine Library in New Jersey, they were pushing it as a good Thanksgiving choice. I had other plans for Turkey day but liked it enough to buy a bottle. In the glass it shows decent purple hues, but is somewhat lighter looking. On the nose- Christmas cake, cherries jubilee and spice box. On the palate, a really smooth intro of black fruits, dark cherries and cedar shingle. Very smooth indeed, with subtle tannins and a touch of acidity. This wine is very easy to drink due to the gorgeous mouthfeel but beware, it only hits 13% alcohol and you might find yourself sipping all night! As the wine hits the mid palate it shows off some typical Zin notes of plums and pepper. The finish is decent and mid length with some tannins showing up right at the end along with some plum torte. This wine does not need food, it flows ever so nicely but I can see why they recommended it to pair with Turkey. It would also go beautifully with a grilled Pork Chop, bone in. Given the choice I will pick old vine Zin every time, they are more refined, smoother and in my opinion easier to drink with lower alcohol. This wine is a great example. I am going with 91 points and 5 stars for a delicious effort that costs $13, what a bargain! I’m ordering more for sure. Salut….
I am becoming a fan of Armida’s wines. I wrote about their other offerings previously with the Poizin and my first experience with the Maple Creek Zin 2009. The style is not overly jammy, nor heavy but relies on old vines for complexity and depth. On pouring this rather young wine I noted that it was dark purple in hue with hints of cloves intertwined with plums on the nose. Easy drinking yet powerful with a lithe tannic backbone and entrenched acidity. The 14.9 % alcohol was well hidden but could sneak up on the unsuspecting. As the wine evolved we got a dark core of black fruits with plums on the secondary and lithe hints of chocolate and bramble bush. A nice depth of different nuances made this a very good wine indeed. I believe it can be found for about $35 and I’m going with 91 points, making this a solid 3 star effort in my book. We drank it before a dinner of fresh caught Salmon, but I would go with any red meats, perhaps some olives and tapenade would suffice. Salut….
The 2010 Ravens Wood Zinfandel was my go-to wine when in a pinch. The 2011 version leaves me bewildered. Hollow, lacking fruit and just average. What little fruitiness I got was predominantly plum, with some cherry mixed it. There was a certain spice that overcame the fruit. Pepper and oak were evident and the lack of tannins apparent. I must have missed something here because this winery is consistent. Perhaps I had an off bottle. For around $9 it is usually a great QPR wine that works well for parties, BBQ’s and even the odd poker game. I did enjoy it somewhat, but was disappointed at the difference between vintages. I am reserving judgement on this one for a second tasting.
Wow. What a beautiful Zinfandel. This wine was absolutely delicious. Plums and blueberry galore, on the nose, the palate, the finish. Not jammy, like many over-the-top Zins, but smooth, mellow and refined. I can see a lot of care has been put into crafting this wine. The winemaker has worked the old vine grapes into a powerful wine, yet hiding the massive 14.5% alcohol behind a balanced canvas of sweet tannins and bright acidity. Very complex once you start to delve into it, the wine offered up some nuances that will no doubt further evolve when the wine is cellared. I imagine it will develop over the next 6 years and drink beautifully until 2020 at the least. For sure a 5 star wine and 91 points in my opinion. If you can find a bottle of this, snag it… Well worth the effort.
PS. This wine was a gift from a friend, I am duly grateful that he was able to share this spectacular bottle.
Before I taste this wine, I must say I love the label. It is the third wine in my Cali Kings flight. I already know it’s a “14.9%” wine. We all know what that means…
Somewhat muted on the nose- because it’s holding out for your palate. Whoosh, here it comes: jammy berry, Zin pepper, spice and a mouth puckering brace of tannins- all at once. Nice party trick folks, fool me with the fake to the nose and then a full wallop to the mouth. Good job hiding the alcohol though. Generally a really nice old vine Zinfandel that has more structure than most. I am dying to know how this is going to evolve as I foresee a long life ahead- perhaps 12 years??
I’m starting to make out some cherry, and a floral finish. Perhaps a trait of the vine age? I’m not sure how available this wine is, but I really encourage you to look for it. Its not typical Zin, but has certain good qualities of Zin that I like. I reckon 5 stars, and 90 points. A well made Zin.