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In view of my disappointment with the '99's and certainly the few '00's and the horror of my slightly fading Green & Red '97 Chiles Mill, I popped open
1)Franus '97 Planchon - WS-91,WA-90
2)Ridge '97 Geyserville - WS-92,WA-91

1)The Franus was quite brooding on release, almost Cablike, with darker cherry like fruit than the usual Zin, but time has been unkind, and this was a shadow of its' former self. Wear and tear has left it slightly tart and lighter bodied, the fruit has hidden further beneath the tannic frame has subsided. RP said drink in 3 years 2 years ago. I have 2 bottles left that won't see July. 86 pts

2)Hope springs eternal. For those who think pedigree is overrated, consider this. Finally a '97 (mostly)Zin that has held up through the bomb. While slightly less fruit forward, there is a more balanced mix of pepper and blueberry-plum which is quite appealing. Quite a few years left, which is good, as my once dirty dozen is now halved. 90 pts.

It is crystal clear that most of today's Zinfandel is meant for early consumption as an in your face overripe hot high EtOH wine with bold fruit. Only some survive the early trining process to become delectable senior Zin-izens.

DrT [Cool]

[ 05-28-2002, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: dr.tannin aka x-man ]
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Doc T,

Talk about a tale of two cities. Interesting to hear the difference in two '97's. Have not tried the ones you mentioned but have been finding that I do not enjoy the older Zins. Had the '97 Moss Creek the other night and the wife and I had to abandon it for the '00 Rancho Zabaco Heritage which we found much better with the ribs.

The only "older" zin I have liked lately is the '97 Edmeades.

When to drink Zin? A great upcoming topic you may have started!
Almost makes you wonder if producers are purposely altering the process to make wines that are appealing now, not later, that make both $$$ now and shelf-space for the next vintage???

I'd agree that the trend has been toward huge, high-octane fruit bombs, and that's not a bad thing, but it would be nice to 'age' a zin for a bit to allow some complexity to develop.

BTW - I had a '95 Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve Zin back in Feb.; it was holding its own quite nicely. Also had a '96 Ridge Lytton Springs in Dec. that was starting to decline but still a nice 'finessed' glass of Zin. Hmm, I'm getting thirsty! [Razz]

[ 05-28-2002, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: kybo ]

Well, I did just that. Opinions varied from it's as good as it's going to get, to some more upside for 5 more years. No one said it's on the way down. Consensus was drink now and over 5 more years.

I believe "my quite a few years left" is accurate. It may not get better, but it will evolve some, and won't decline much if any for 3-5 years. RP said 6 years in late 2000, which is the same time frame. JL said drink thru 2005.

Bottom line, you're good now to 2005-2006.

That clears that up.


"Almost makes you wonder if producers are purposely altering the process to make wines that are appealing now, not later, that make both $$$ now and shelf-space for the next vintage???"

I've read articles that claimed that exact same thing. I believe one of those articles was in WS. It was within the last 12 months but I'm too lazy to do a search.
I agree with your comments. My prose asserts this.

However, uncommonly, when I buy >4 bottles of a Zinfandel, I expect they can last in excellent drinking shape 2-3 years minumum. I am disappointed that some recently tasted wines barely make that figure, declining precipitously since release from 90 pt levels, at even faster rates than professional critics suggested. Others, not I, profess to Zins improving in the bottle.

That does not mean a Zin or in Ridge's case, Zin blends like Lytton Springs or Geyserville, won't drink very well for 5-7 years. My experience is that they do, quod erat demonstrandum.

DrT [Cool]

[ 05-29-2002, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: dr.tannin aka x-man ]
First night for dinner in the new house. Wanted to open something that I knew would be good: Second-to-last bottle of 1997 Geyserville. Decanted for an hour, paired it with grilled shikabobs. No power in dining room, no kitchen appliances, candle-light dinner; final renovations being completed this week.

Ripe, dark fruits, cherry, plum, pepper and moderate spice. No overbundance of oak. Well balanced with slightly softened, well integrated tannins. Long, mouthcouting finish. This is an excellent bottle of wine. 93 points. Drink now, I can't see this wine getting any better. dr. t., thanks for the tip on cracking this open now.

[ 06-03-2002, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: mletson ]
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 grandmother’s fig preserves? excellent. drink.

recently:‘92 ridge pagani atp - a power house, i detected no signs of age; deep purple. it’s 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 i’m 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 i’ll 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. i’ll 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 i’ll 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 haven’t 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.

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