» The Daily Rant 1 2012
By Gregory Dal Piaz
I try three of the current release V Sattui Zinfandels. 2009 doesn't look like such a horrible year after all, and these wines prove my point that Zinfandel ages. Do you age Zinfandel? What have been your favorites? I'd love to know.
I endorse the aging of Zins. In my modest cellar I have probably 30+ Zinfandel samples. Most of them are less than 20 years old, but there are a couple exceptions. The most prevalent labels are Ridge, Rosenblum and Seghesio.
One of my most ethereal wine experiences occurred a year and a half ago when I opened a '94 Ridge Lytton Springs. That was a wine that puts lie to the thought that Zinfadels do not have aging potential.
I do wonder, however, if as winemaking styles change, the benefits of aging Zinfandel are dimishing. I recently had an '07 Lytton Springs and enjoyed it thoroughly. Very drinkable, very smooth. I question whether aging would improve it. Of one thing I am fairly certain, cellaring will do it no harm. Well, to test that theory, I have two more bottles in the cellar. I am determined to continue the research.
Jan 11, 2012 at
Another Howell Mountain winery that makes excellent zin, when on form, is Summit Lake.
Not plummy, but very peppery - like a Cotes du Rhone.
Jan 11, 2012 at
I have been aging Zinfandel of all persuasions since 1970. It is a chameleon, tasting all the way from a well aged Bordeaux to a pinot noir. Great big Zins tend toward Port over the years. A 1971 Ridge Geyserville (a year-in/out favorite) recently was awesome. Almost all have held up well, if not improving. The old vines zins seem to do better and the better balanced they are the better they do. You do lose that quintessential Zin fruitiness, though and if it is delicious young, I'd drink it young. Read "Angel's Visits, an Inquiry into the Mystery of Zinfandel"/ David Darlington, now back in print.
Jan 12, 2012 at
Greg, I've caught up, now, on the Daily Rants, and, since you've asked for feedback on what we as, in this case, a wine "buff" (as opposed to any kind of wine professional), want to see on Snooth, let me make these comments regarding the GTIs.
I have stated on Snooth that I enjoy the Global Tasting Initiatives because it encourages me to concentrate for a few weeks on a certain wine. Over the last few months I have enjoyed the GTIs on Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Sparklers and, most recently (and, for me, happily) Zinfandel.
It looks like the next GTI is Chardonnay. Initially, I became a bit crabby about that announcement since it seems like we just had a Chardonnay GTI a few months ago. On the other hand, there are many Chardonnay offerings out there--varying styles from varying geographies. Also, I always have some Chardonnay samples on hand and additional ones are easy for me to procure. So, I will eagerly participate.
I am very excited about the Sangiovese and Syrah GTIs. Two grapes that I enjoy, but do not enjoy as often as I might like to. Here are two cases where the GTI program serves me exactly as I want. It will give me reason to examine wines that I like, but have not given them the appreciation that they deserve.
Then you have "bookmarked" two GTIs for Chenin Blanc and Mourvedre, and you ask if there are other grapes that Snoothers are interested in. I am very OK about Chenin Blanc and Mourvedre. It has been years since I've had a Chenin Blanc, and it would be very exciting to take a fresh look. I have limited experience with Mourvedre, and will enjoy looking at it.
You mentioned the Lagrein grape. I had never heard of this grape before and would love to try it. The question is, however, where do you buy it? That question is almost rhetorical for me. I live in a large metropolitan area. If there is a wine that I absolutely, positively want to try, then I can get in the car and drive to a store (someplace) and find it. However, I do not believe that Snooth participants who live in smaller communities have the same opportunity. Of course, with technology, even vicarious experiences such as articals and videos do provide an educational experience, but I think it is important to maximize the experiential education.
One grape you did not mention that I would suggest you consider for a GTI is Gewurztraminer, another one that I have ignored lately but is, truly, a fun and enjoyable wine. I would suggest that this be something to consider in the summer. I think Gewurztraminer is widely available, it is produced in different styles and it is both and Old World and a New World grape.
Here is a GTI idea that may or may not be easy to implement. With the exception of the Sparkling Wine GTI at the end of the year (and I congratulate you on that timing), all the GTIs have focussed on a grape varietal. You might want to consider a different kind of focus. The obvious thing would be geographic--e.g., Loire Valley, South America, New Zealand. Again, the thing about which that I think you would want to take care is availabilty for Snoother around the world. Again, I can procure just about anything, but it might be more difficult for somebody in Juneau, Alaska or in Northern Ireland.
Finally (Are you tired of me, yet?) you might want to have a schedule of planned GTIs somewhere on the GTI page. I like being able to walk over to my rack (or into my storage unit), pulling out a wine and opening it up. If I know there is a Chenin Blanc GTI coming up, I will be more inclined to pick up some samples when I am on may semi-irregular wine provisioning excursions.
Jan 13, 2012 at
Some very good points from EMark above. I want to add a few theme suggestions such as: Valpolicella (grapes are corvina veronese etc also if you want a specific one you can go 'Ripasso' testing etc or even Amarone ) and Primitivo (southern Italy - and same / related to Zinfandel) as many who likes Zin will appreciate. Barbera will be my last suggestion of grapes as theme. I really like your forum here and as EMark said just a little more structure would be nice to have, but still enjoying it as is. Keep it up & coming! :)
Jan 17, 2012 at
Also (as Lagrein is not any of my favourites) can I suggest Garnacha (which often to always are used in blends with different partners accompany them in interesting wines).
Jan 17, 2012 at