Had a zin tasting at a friend's house with 10 wines, mostly not very memorable. Outside the Paganis, the '99 Rosenblum Vintner's Cuvee was the most notable, with light, transparent red color and a sweet nose and palate that leaned toward strawberry, with very fine tannins. Not really what I look for in a Zin, but with all the green, shallow wines in the evening, it was definitely pleasant. Also had a '00 Turley Old Vine, which was good but not representative of a Turley Zin, IMHO.
'97 Ridge, Pagani: Dark ruby, with a purple tinge. The Petite Syrah was noticeable in both the nose and palate, adding a welcome complexity to the fruitiness of the Zin flavors. This wine may be at its best now (definitely better than 18 months ago), with the tannic structure being completely integrated. The finish had a long decrescendo of peppery spice and fruit. -92
'97 St. Francis, Pagani: Extremely dark, opaque crimson, with very thick, slow legs that were absolutely red. Jammier and sweeter than the Ridge. The nose was less complex, but the palate actually had more layers. The opening had a nice little explosion of jammy berry flavors, the midpalate tamed down with vanilla and some pluminess, but the finish actually burst again with raspberry, spice, and caramel cream. Delicious and interesting; the best St. Francis I've ever had. I wish we had had a top-tier Turley or Martinelli for an immediate comparison. From memory, I would put it in the same class (maybe on the lower side) as a Martinelli G&L. Not as complex or refined as a Turley Pringle, Earthquake, or Hayne. 94
Overall, I was pleased that these '97 Zins aged as well as they did. I wouldn't hold either any longer, unless simply for curiosity's sake. Both could probably last another year but not improve.