Here is another set of tasting notes from my archive which has heretofore not been posted on oenophilogical.com. I haven’t checked the Trader Joe’s shelves to see what vintage my local store is carrying right now. Even if it’s another year, this might give folks a sense of what has gone before.
Winemaker: Old Moon
Wine: Old Vine Zinfandel
Price: $5.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: In the bouquet I caught whiffs of cherry, spice, moss and pine tar. At 13.5% alcohol, this California Zin was a lovely ruby color in the glass. I found it to be medium-bodied with high acidity and medium tannins that were quick on the attack. The flavor profile I tasted included cherry, green herbs, a soupçon of pine tar, along with earth and leather notes. The finish brought toasty oak and leather. It wasn’t a particularly well integrated wine, but I felt it sufficient in structure and flavor to make it a bargain (not just cheap) at the price.
Last post from those birthday celebrations a few weeks back. As you may recall, we managed to pull off a second “surprise” party for the old geezer (just kidding). Besides Thai Food – Pad Thai, Seafood Fried Rice, Vegetable Spring Rolls and Steamed Dumplings – we also had a marvelous chocolate cake. Unfortunately, I’m not authorized to post pictures of the cake here because the decorations included the celebrant’s name and age. That information is evidently not for general public consumption. Luckily, the cake was available for consumption at the party, and it was tasty. This Zinfandel is what I chose to sip with it.
Wine: Vintner’s Blend, Old Vine Zinfandel
Notes: This Ravenswood was dark red with a piquant nose of turpentine, meat and berries. It was medium-bodied and had a very nice, smooth affect on the tongue. Acidity was good, tannins were medium, and alcohol was at 13.5%. Flavors I detected were blueberry, cherry, plenty of pepper, along with smoke and ash notes. I liked this Zin. It was fine with the cake but even better on it’s own.
Years ago, when I was in the very early stages of my wine journey, Zinfandel was the first varietal that truly caught my interest. Ever since, it has remained a wine that I enjoy exploring. Back in those early days I liked Chardonnay, found Pinot Noir to be very nice, and considered Cabernet Sauvignon an interesting wine. Yet it was my early experiences with California Zinfandel that really tickled my taste buds. Can’t remember now what those first few Zins were, their vintner’s, etc. I will say that their mix of fruit and (for me as a novice) unexpected non-fruit flavors proved a tremendous playground for my developing palate. My palate is, of course, still developing as I continue to learn more about wine and it’s many splendors.
Wine: Old Vine Zinfandel
Appellation: Lodi, California
Price: $7.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: It’s color was a dark ruby. The bouquet was very floral with menthol, pine sap, forest berries, and damp forest floor (sous bois). On the tongue it’s heft was light-to-medium with high acidity. Alcohol was at 14.5%. As for the flavors I found, I thought this a rather “round” flavor profile with distinct zingy notes. To me it had a core of black raspberry fruit and a mid-palate bready/muffiny taste. There was also plenty of menthol, pepper, and some pine along with a lengthy finish of dried cranberry. I enjoyed this budget Zin quite a bit for it’s surprising complexity and lengthy finish. I think this would be another potential to accompany a holiday meal, especially if you find yourself a little short on cash after purchasing your holiday gifts. [Many of us do!] Give it a try, and see what you think.
Sometimes a simple, approachable, flavorful wine is just what the doctor ordered.
Vineyard: Twisted Wines
Wine: Old Vine Zinfandel
Price: $15.99 per Magnum
Notes: This wine was soft, mellow and fruity. For me the nose carried scents of red fruits – plum and cherry – along with hints of vanilla. On the palate the red plum and cherry repeated with hints of strawberry as it breathed. I also tasted some vanilla and an underlying note of anise. Very light tannins brought a slight fuzziness on the tongue and a bit of menthol to the finish. The acidity was low, and the label put the alcohol at 13.5%.
It wasn’t a wine epiphany. It isn’t even, generally speaking, the kind of Zinfandel I prefer. But I know from personal experience that this Old Vine Zin from Twisted Wines can make a pretty good budget-friendly selection to share at an informal party. In fact, I took a bottle to a get-together this weekend where it was a big hit. Of course, this is not for the wine enthusiast group, or the wine tasting event, or the “I insist on Dom Perignon in my Mimosa” crowd: this is for an easy, breezy chat-with-neighbors-in-the-condo-courtyard-and-eat-grilled-burgers kind of gathering.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.