The second comparative tasting for our wine group featured Old Vine Zinfandel. For many, old vine was a new concept.
Zinfandel is a unique grape in many ways. Its vines can live to be 125 years old. That means they have survived through all kinds of weather, prohibition and Phylloxera.
There is no legal definition in this country, but a few famous Zinfandel producers such as Ravenswood and Ridge agree that old vines are between 50 and 80 years old. After that they’re called ancient vines.
Wines that are made from old vines are more concentrated because the vine production is less vigorous than when the vine was, say a teenager.
Of the nine wines tasted, five were from the Lodi AVA. With one each from California, Dry Creek, Paso Robles and Sonoma.
The overall favorite was the Brazin 2009 Lodi OV Zinfandel, (15 percent alcohol). The bouquet was quite fragrant with intense sweet black fruits and spice, which followed through on the palate with hints of herbs and spice. At 15 perecent alcohol, it was balanced, not hot at all. Very smooth.
My favorite was the Brazin 2010 Dry Creek OV Zinfandel, (15 percent alcohol). They were so different in style! This one had such a perfumed nose. On the palate, it was dry, balanced and muted black fruits with a hint of minerality. More French in style than a big bold California Zinfandel.
Brazin Vineyards is a Zinfandel-only winery located in Lodi, California. They source from some of the most coveted Zinfandel appellations and vineyards in California such as Monte Rosso, Rockpile and Lodi. The head-trained vines are truly “old” with an average age between 30 and 80 years.
The others tried were:
- Rosenblum 2009 Sonoma, (16.3 percent alc)
- Gen 5 2010 Lodi, (14.9 percent alc)
- Bogle California 2010, (14.5 percent alc)
- Project Paso 2009 Paso Robles, (14.4 percent alc)