We had a zinfandel tasting at The Wine Bar tonight. I love zins.
First we tasted Rosenblum Cellars 'Vintner's Cuvee XXIX' Zinfandel. This is basically a non-vintage blend of zinfandel from many different vineyards around California. This is the 29th bottling of the Vintner's Cuvee blend. I think by just numbering the bottling, they can use grapes of differing vintages in the blend. Rosenblum calls this their "introduction to the Rosenblum style of zinfandel". It's actually blended with 12% Petite Syrah. It is 14.6% alcohol, so it shouldn't be too hot (compared to other zins). Anyway, let's see how it tastes:
Not a deep, jammy color. The nose is kind of fruity, but not overwhelming, kind of fleeting actually. Lot's of fruit on the front end. Pretty easy to drink, just not overly satisfying.
Rating: Not a fan
I've had much better zins from Rosenblum. Disappointing.
Next, came the Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, 2005. This wine is from the Lodi area of California. It is 84% zin, 14% Petite Syrah and 2% 'various blacks' as they call them. This one is 14.5% alcohol. Let's check it out:
Ruby Red. Some dark fruits on the nose. Very good fruit on the front with that 'zinfandel heat' on the finish. Well balanced.
Rating: It'll do+
There I go, screwing up the rating system in my 2nd wine post!
The 3rd zin we sampled is the Sebastiani Sonoma County Zinfandel, 2005. This wine features grapes from throughout Sonoma county. Sebastiani is still a family-owned winery (since 1904). This 13.5% alcohol red is blended as 76.5% zin, 10% malbec, 8.5% Syrah, and 5% Petite Syrah.
Dark ruby red. Luciously floral on the nose (Like that one? I just made it up!) Very well balanced. Smooth with a touch of heat on the end. Probably great with steak.
Rating: Love it
Finally, the big boy. Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, 2004. In the name of full disclosure, this has long been one of my 'go to' wines. I have been a fan for many years. Seghesio is another one of those Italian, family-owned vineyards in Sonoma. They are well known for Zin. There lowest-tier zin (Seghesio Sonoma County Zin) was just rated a 91 by Wine Spectator. I visited this winery on my last visit to Sonoma. One of the cool things about visiting the winery is that, more than likely, you'll find someone who's last name is Seghesio working in the tasting room. Also, check out their other varietals and styles. They do a good job with Barbera as well.
Educational Detour: Let's talk about Old Vines. You often see this on Zins or Grenaches. What does it mean? How old is old? As grape vines age, they produce smaller grapes in less quantity, but are much more intense and concentrated in flavor. Old vines is a very loosely defined term in the wine world. I know that Seghesio designates anything older than 50 years old as old vines. The average age of the vines in this wine is around 90 years old, with some being planted as early as 1895! These grapes are hand harvested and treated very delicately throughout the winemaking and aging process.
Deep inky reddish-black. Earthy aroma, but smells like heaven (but I may be a little biased!). Wow! This is another level of zin! There's a lot going on. Maybe a bit of smoke, nice bold tannins, fills your mouth with flavor. Pleasant extended finish.
Rating: LOVE IT!!!!!!
As if you hadn't figured that one out already....
All-in-all, a nice little gathering of zins. The last 3 you can find on the list at Simply Fondue. Zinfandel is America's Grape. Go explore and try some more. Just stay away from that pink stuff! It doesn't count!