This past weekend in addition to our T.G.I.F. / Thank God It’s Fermented Fridays wine tastings and our casual Saturday afternoon wine tastings it was time for Now and Zin: a Guide to California’s Old-Vine Zinfandels class!
The event was held outdoors under our covered patio [thank you to the weather Gods!] and attended by about a dozen people who pre-registered for the class.
As the photo’s will show the Zinfandel’s paired beautifully with dark chocolate, sausage pizza and various cheeses including: Nancy’s Camembert, an American Artisan cheese from Hudson River Valley NY. A blend of cow and sheep’s milk topped with spicy plum chutney. All of course from Whole Foods Market North Miami.
We got to enjoy about seven different Zinfandel’s and I must stress the word “enjoy”. Luckily we didn’t have a bad one among the bunch. Although I must admit favorites were discussed throughout the class and even afterwards as we just had to go back for more and make sure.
I’ll list all the wines below. If we had one clear winner I would have to say it was the SALDO from Orin Swift. A close second would have been the Seghesio with Earthquake and Predator all close too. But as I said all our Zin’s had their fans, and the fans had their ZIN’s! ¡SALUD!
Four Vines Truant: It is blended from vineyards around the state, but it is 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese. On the nose there are dark berry notes and spicy notes from oak aging. The wine drinks of juicy blackberry, ripe plums and a touch of blueberry. Generous in fruit flavors, plenty of structure and a velvety finish.
The Lodi appellation PREDATOR Zinfandel is sourced from 50+ year old vines. Aromas of chocolate espresso bean, smoked bacon [yes it’s true!], and baked berries. Medium to full body.
JOEL GOTT– 100% ZIN The largest component of our blend for this vintage is old vine Zinfandel from Lodi. With fruit from Sonoma, Mendocino and the Shenandoah Valley in Amador.
Decoy Zinfandel – This Sonoma County wine offers raspberry jam aromas, as well as hints of vanilla, clove and white pepper. Like a fresh-baked berry tart, the raspberry notes continue on the palate where they are supported by sweet oak and spice flavors that carry through to the finish. This is a lovely Zinfandel expressing both richness and balance.
SALDO – The 2011 Saldo has an intense ruby color and bold aromas of dark berry fruit, blueberry pie, cardamom and baking spice. The entry is rich and full, and leads into a broad mid palate with concentration and density, backed by lively acidity. The texture is soft and velvety, with polished tannins. The finish is long with persistent notes of chocolate, roasted coffee bean and vanilla spice.
Seghesio Vineyards Winemaker Notes:
Spicy, lush black fruit of Alexander Valley
Briary and raspberry flavors, along with structure, of cooler Dry Creek Valley
Characteristic synergy of components – balanced and elegantly structured
Earthquake – Over the top and shattering to the veins, all varietals under the Earthquake label are Michael David’s reserve level wines. These wines possess major concentration and daring flavor with only a limited production offered each year. The original is the Earthquake Zin that comes from an old Lodi vineyard planted around the time of San Francisco’s great Earthquake in 1906. While mulling over a label name in the vineyard, Michael Phillips thought it only seemed fitting to relate this intense wine with the historical quake. With over 15% alcohol and bold tannins, these dark and voluminous will definitely leave your senses quivering.
- Joel Gott Zinfandel – 2011 vs. 2009 (whineandcheersforwine.com)
- Lodi Zinfest 2013 (dvinewinetime.wordpress.com)