Wine Talk

Snooth User: outthere

Old Vine Offline, we killed it!

Posted by outthere, Aug 25, 2013.


Wow, we had a great time last night. Hopefully Foxall will have a chance to put his spin on things. I didn't take any notes, just 2 pictures but I lined up some of the dead soldiers this morning.
15 people, over 30 different wines and not a single dud except for a sweet/syrupy/candied 2001 Rosenblum Monte Rosso Zinfandel. But enough for the bad wine. This is the first time I have ever attended an offline that didn't have a spoiled, corked or  otherwise tainted bottle of wine. Considering what we opened, it was an amazing occurrence.
Who says Zinfandel won't age?
Provenance, provenance, provenance... We opened up wines from the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s and they all showed well. GDP, the '73 Fetzer Ricetti was great, the '69 Mirassou Late Harvest was still young, '73 Ridge Lytton Springs still showed good acidity. Even the '77 Montevina Special Selection with the moldy label was one persons WOTN. Just goes to show that well kept Zinfandel will age gracefully.
My wine of the night was the '76 Louis Martini Zinfandel because of how much more aging potential it showed moreso than its current performance. It was bright, with really pleasant red fruit characteristics and still fairly firm tannins.
Some bottles went home with guests but here s what was left this morning.
There were more but they didn't survive the night as guests took some home with them. The mere fact that there were no duds in this lineup still amazes me. California produces some stellar wines that don't say Cabernet or Pinot Noir on the labels. This was a great representation of the past, present and future of Old Vine  Field Blends and Zinfandels coming out of California. The Sauternes and Vin Santo came out later when I started raiding my cellar so don't give a hard time about them OK. ;)


Reply by EMark, Aug 25, 2013.

Who says Zinfandel won't age?

Not me.  That's for sure. I have to admit, though, that I have never had a Zinfandel with as much age as some of your players.

Clearly, you had an outstanding event, OT.  I'm sure that many more of us would have enjoyed being there.

Reply by JonDerry, Aug 25, 2013.

Well done Brian!

Sounds amazing...and to think if any of these were mags or 3L? They'd probably out live us.

Reply by Terence Pang, Aug 25, 2013.

Wonderful lineup, and certainly amazed that the wines hadn't carted it, given the years on most of them. Thanks for the photos! Definitely makes me consider stashing some Zins for drinking in more than 10 years time.

Reply by outthere, Aug 26, 2013.

Here's the official lineup

'11 Bedrock Casa Santinamaria
'10 Bedrock Compagni Portis
'11 Bedrock Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc
'10 Bedrock Ode to Lulu Rose of Mourvedre
'11 Bedrock Saitone Zinfandel
'09 Bedrock Lachryma Montis Monte Rosso Semillon
'05 Carlisle Two Acres
BR Cohn Cabernet Port
'94 Broadbent Port
'03 Doisy Daene Barsac
'73 Fetzer Ricetti Zinfandel
'00 I Veroni Vin Santo Del Chianti Rufina
'10 L'Aventure Roussanne
'76 Louis Martini California Zinfandel
'10 Mazzocco Warm Springs Ranch Reserve Alexander Valley Zinfandel
'69 Mirassou Late Harvest Zinfandel
'77 Montevina Special Selection Amador County Zinfandel
'05 PAX Alder Springs "The Emerald Pool" Syrah 1.5L
'92 Ravenswood Dickerson 
'94 Ravenswood Monte Rosso
'81 Ridge Vineyards Langtry Road Claret
'73 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs
'95 Ridge Vineyards Sonoma Station Zinfandel
'01 Rosenblum Monte Rosso
'86 Sausal Alexander Valley Zinfandel
'06 Scherrer Old and Mature Vines Alexander Valley Zinfandel
'81 Joseph Swan Sonoma County Zinfandel
'10 Three (Matt Cline" Live Oak Zinfandel Contra Costa County
'10 Three (Matt Cline) Old Vines Zinfandel Contra Costa County
'01 Turley Hayne Vineyard Petite Sirah
'06 Turley Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel
'09 Ulises Valdez St Peters Church Vineyard Zinfandel
'09 Villa Creek Cellars "High Road" James Berry Vineyard GSM
'09 WesMar Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
'07 Woodenhead Martinelli Rd Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel
Reply by outthere, Aug 26, 2013.


I was able to sit down with a few of the leftovers on Sunday and jot down some notes.

Old Vine Offline

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 27, 2013.

So I got back and was swamped.  Here's my spin:  I wouldn't say that Zin is a wine that improves greatly with the kind of age we are talking about here, but what was shocking was that not a single wine had gone over.  My wine of the night was the '73 Ridge:  We opened it and it was bubbling around the cork, had lots of signs of past seepage, and we were afraid it was wrecked or would go dead in a minute.  But after filtering out the bits of cork and sediment, it was fine.  In fact, after about 30 minutes, it started transforming into a pretty interesting wine with decent fruit--hey, it had that to spare when it was bottled--and a kind of haunting acidity.  Probably past its prime, which was probably beyond belief, but amazingly drinkable. 

The Rosenblum was not spoiled, but definitely a dud.  OT has nailed it, so I won't go on. 

Although the '73 was my wine of the night, the biggest surprise (sadly, disappointment) was also a Ridge.  That Langtry Road Claret ('81) had 33% Petite Sirah, so many of us figured it would be the best preserved.  When opened, it had a nose that wouldn't quit, but it went surprisingly flat very quickly. Nothing structurally wrong with this wine, it just had withered to the point where it was not that exciting. 

Of the younger wines, I thought the Carlisles needed time--even though I drank young Carlisle and loved it the week before.  The Bedrock is good, but I am partial to those 3wines (Matt Cline) wines that I brought for preservationist wines. Disclaimer:  I probably didn't try every wine, and I doubt anyone else did (okay, maybe OT), but since OT was putting me up, I had as many as I could handle.  Well, without spitting. 

As many know from my post last week about Project Zin, I had some amazing food and wine the Saturday before as well.  But OT and his lovely partner deserve credit for an amazing spread to go with the wine--rivaling the best of PZ.  Wagyu sliders, amazing tomato salad (we're finally getting ripe tomatoes in this temperate summer), amazing pizza, and that was the appetizers.  The tri-tip main course was a perfect accompaniment to the wines.  By that point, we were all well acquainted and talking wine and wine-making with Trini Amador, winemaker of Gracianna (and OT's stepson) and Linda, a former winemaker from Charles Krug and Peachy Canyon (a well regarded Zin outfit). 

One last observation:  Lots of great wines, but one interesting similarity from last week was that the Valdez St. Peter's Church Zin was remarkably consistent from the 2009 and 2011 vintages--and distinctively spicy.  If you like a spicy Zin, this one stands out.  But on this night, there were Zins to suit any taste, and a lot to learn about old vines and old wines.  Thanks for hosting such a great event!

Reply by outthere, Aug 28, 2013.

Correction, the meat was Bryan Flannery Midwestern Prime Hanger Steaks. Tri-Tip could never be that tender.

I missed the conversation about Syrah as I was at the over end of the table. Last night while I was out watering the garden I had a glass of 2005 Pax Alder Springs Emerald Pool Syrah that I poured from the still half full magnum. Man was it good, nose exploded with black olive, black pepper and dried flowers, palate was still fresh and loaded with black and blue fruit and the tannins lasted for days. While drinking it I thought that the theme of the next offline should be Syrah. Glad you felt the same way. Larry is a big Syrah nut like us, and I know there are a few here that fill the bill also, so we'll have to make that one work.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 28, 2013.

I could hardly keep all the wines straight.  Shouldn't have even tried to remember the specific cut of beef. 

Got a nice email from Clay Mauritson who wanted to know how things went with the wines you photo-dropped into the Project Zin thread.  I'll send him the link to this.  I think he'll be astounded at what you and the others were able to round up.

That Pax was way too young and way too hard to really evaluate the first night.  It was really generous of you to open it, but I think we could hardly do it justice.  That said, I am down for dong an offline of Syrah--I was thinking of rounding up as many '07s as possible (we're going to want to decant) to see how different winemakers handled the same vineyards and how different areas  show their terroir in a grape that has strong typicity and major terroir variations.  (GregT will come down on me for using those words, since he has doubts about the importance of them, along with much of the language of wine--he's kind our Paul Feyerabend.) I'm thinking cool climate North Coast and some N. Rhones, although it wasn't the best year for N. Rhone--which is why they are somewhat affordable.  I've got that Lagier Meredith that JD gave me, that Lost Canyon that is just starting to rock (with the horrid label and the out of business winery), some Cornas and some Cote Rotie, so we have options.

Reply by JonDerry, Aug 28, 2013.

By the way OT, that 2011 Gonon you're holding is all yours. I stocked up a little while ago so I have enough.

Reply by outthere, Aug 28, 2013.

I'll save it for a time when we can enjoy it together. Thanks pal!

specific vintage as well Fox? Damn you are stretching me thin.

Reply by outthere, Aug 28, 2013.

Tonight I drank the rest of the Three Wine Co Live Oak Zinfandel Contra Costa County. This was a really nice value wine that I will be looking for. Deep dark color, nice briary fruit that reminded me a lot of Sonoma Valley Zinfandel. Has a nice tangy edge to it that makes me wonder if there is any Carignane in it. Chewy spicy finish. @ $20 this is one to seek out. Thanks to Foxall for bringing this!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 29, 2013.

OT, get on the Wine Access mailing list--they do deals on Matt Cline's wines that drop the price to about $16.  For that, I get wine of character any night of the week.  I didn't intend to bring a lower priced wine, but this is the oldest vines around, and the wine punches way above its weight.  I hear that he charges a bit more at the winery, so WineAccess is the way to go.  I also think he's doing a great job of preserving these vineyards in places outside the Sonoma and Napa areas--these vineyards were planted by Italian farmers (I grew up with the grandkids of a few) in Contra Costa for their own use on soil too sandy to grow much else.  That sand saved the vines from phylloxera, so many of these are own-rooted.  Even those that aren't are really old, but who thinks of Oakley or Delhi as wine country and tries to preserve them? 

I'm pretty sure that the other 3 Wines I brought has carignane--I just dug up a bottle last night, so I'll look.  (Had to organize for an onslaught of CdP from a huge sale at JJBuckley.)

Reply by outthere, Aug 30, 2013.

I went on their website and the Live Oak has Zin, Alicante, Carignane and Petite Sirah. Winery price is $34 but average cost on CT is just 20 and change. I'll try Wine Access, thanks!

Reply by jtryka, Sep 15, 2013.

Absolutely outstanding post!  Thank you for sharing, I recall the two Ravenswood Zins when they were released and I enjoyed them then, I can only imagine how much they've changed over the years!  I think I have a bottle of '07 Dickerson around here somewhere!

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