8/18/02 - have been drinking zins bought upon release and stored in a cold, san francisco wine chamber:
last night:93 ridge pagani ranch - still voluptuous (14.9% alcohol) & rich, but more rounded than in its youth. complex flavors, spicy fruit; did that really remind me of my grandmothers fig preserves? excellent. drink.
recently:92 ridge pagani atp - a power house, i detected no signs of age; deep purple. its like drinking unctuous rasberries or maybe blueberries with hints of pepper & spices. drink or hold.
92 ridge lytton springs - less flamboyent than the 92 pagani, but more subtle complexity and structure. drink or hold.
92 ridge pagani ranch late picked - timeless, super-rich (15.8% alcohol) again, loads of fruit, fantastic rasberries laced with nut meg and spices. the residual sugar is listed as 0.1% on the label, but it was not a problem in the glass. drink or hold.
93 ridge alegria vineyard - striking red color matched by red, spice flavors and an elegant body. i remember drinking this wine at different times in the past and liking it better back then, but im glad to have experinced its progression. drink.
93 ridge lytton estate atp - spicy, dense fruit with complex layers of vinuous flavors. in the age of spices. drink.
93 martinelli jackass hill - still big and velvety, berry fruit. very nice, i think ill find some way to drink the other bottles of this soon. drink.
92 williams & selyem (jackass hill) - it just says russian river valley on the label. still oaky at first, though it receded some later and the fruit emerged. ill wait a few years before opening any more of this. i expected it will really be something one day. hold.
93 topolos piner heights - the first whiff was quite volatile, although it did smell like very good vinegar. i suspect this wine had that funky nose from the beginning (the 90 smelled like laquer on relase in 92). i poured it back into the bottle from the deacanter so as not to give it too much air. later i was able to enjoy it somewhat, despite its quirkiness. passed.
93 sausal - ready to go, brick edges, good fruit, probably best to drink in the near future.
93 sausal private reserve - a little hard & closed at first; later it opened and became smoothe and velvety with toasty oak flavors only giving glimpses of its potentail. will try again in 2004. hold.
93 turley hayne vineyard - texture like silk velvet, but then, it had that the first time i tasted it, as a barrel sample, at the zap event. it has lost very little with time, but gained very little. i believe ill dig the 94 turleys out and see what they are doing. drink.
94 rochioli sodini vineyard - had very high expectations of this wine from the time i tasted and bought it on release. two years ago i felt it had not resolved with the oak yet. it is softer now, but i want more texture and friut. i suppose i will continue to wait. hold.
i opened these and had them with dinner over the last fortnight or so and havent drunk this much zinfandel in years. in fact i felt that my palate had changed and that i prefered the balance and style of coche-dury volnay over jackass hill zin. it would probably be an amusing lab experiment to see whether chimps or rats have the same preference as i do. i expect they would go for both, but i bet the volnay would disappear fisrt.
a palate is a dynamic entity and changes with experince.
i have hardly touched any bordeaux in years even though i have the gems from 88, 89 90. burgundy is just so seductive and classy that it makes bordeaux seem bitter. when the time comes for bordeaux, i will adapt my palate and gear up just as i am doing for these zins. no joking, it has not been easy with alcohol contents of 14, 15 & 16%; so yes, zinfandel is less classy grape than pinot or cab, but it has a place a place in the world....california.
well made zinfandel will age (given proper care), even though it has been made to be approachable in its youth. the vast majoriiy of wine is drunk soon after relase no matter how it was made.
there are still more bottles that i have to test, taste, i mean drink. 90 & 91 ravenswoods, 91 ridge lytton and geyserville magnums, 90 & 91 williams & selyem, 92 geyserville & etc.