Tasting Notes contains just that notes on wines I have tasted!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Zinfandel: Vintage Wines Ltd $5 Tastings 2005

Tasting described as The noble grape of the America's Zinfandel has always been a wine lovers favorite. Blueberry, cassis and just a hint of spice think grilled beef or even chocolate! Saturday, Feb. 19th 11-3pm.

I tasted the wines double blind. That is I did not know what wines where in the tasting or their order. However it is usual for such tastings to have the heavier, higher alcohol wines later in the flight. I’ve listed the wines in order they were tasted.

Seghesio, Sonoma 2003 $13.49USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Very open with sweet vanilla oak and a cola-like aroma that turned to a ethyl acetate (VA?) note with time. Medium bodied with aromas clearly evident on retronasal and firm tannins holding the finish. But not a particularly well structured wine. 2, 2, 3.7, 9.5 = 17.2/20,

Tobin James, Reserve Paso Robles 2002 $17.99 USD
Cherry red with pink edge. A more typical zinfandel with a lychee character that I associate with this variety. Over time developed a quince-like aroma. Flavors carried through on retronasal. A well balanced wine with a hint of alcohol on the finish. 2, 2, 3.9, 10.0 = 17.9/20,

J. Runquist, Amador County 2002 $16.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Rich aromas of cedar, smoky tobacco, and caramel. Medium weight and well structured with good acidity to the mid-palate and firm tannins on the finish. The aromas carry through on retronasal. Another wine that finishes with the suggestion of high alcohol. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.2 = 18.4/20,

Rosenblum, Rockpile Dry Creek 2002 $18.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Very jammy with rich oak and ethyl acetate (VA?). The aromas closed down over time. Soft entry, sweet and rich on the palate with firm tannins on the finish. But unbalanced and marred by high alcohol on the finish – a real lip-burner. 2, 2, 4.0, 9.2 = 17.2/20, 15.6% alcohol.

Peter Franus, Napa Valley 2002 $19.99USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Easily the best drinking wine with nice quince on the nose and soft entry to the palate. Medium weight, well balanced with good acidity and soft tannins and flavors carrying through on retronasal. I don’t believe the wine will live for any great length of time, but it does drink well now. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.8 = 17.7/20,

Ravenswood, Teldeschi Dry Creek 2002 $22.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Initially all I got from this wine was a suggestion of alcohol and then when I came back to it it was very closed and tight. All I could smell was the equivalent of water in a glass. How do you score that? In the mouth it was medium weight and structurally sound with very firm tannins closing out the finish. But there was very little on retronasal; the heat from my mouth was not opening the wine up any more except for a little suggestion of oak. A very difficult wine to score. To be fair to the other wines I have to score it but the wine itself does warrant retasting at a later time. 2, 2, 2.0, 9.5 = 15.5/20,

After seeing the identities of the wines I was quite surprised, especially by the Ravenswood. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted a Ravenswood that lacked aroma! The Runquist is clearly very good value. Not a typical Zin, but a wine that will reward a few more years in bottle. The biggest concern was the level of alcohol in some of these wines. The Rosenblum was the worst example. Too big in too many ways and that is when the balancing act can come crashing down.


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