Browse Tag


Very putrid s***

Beringer 2004 “VPS” White Zinfandel/Chardonnay “Premier Vineyard Selection” (California) – 80% white zinfandel, 20% chardonnay. Childrens’ fruit gum, hand sanitizer, NyQuil™, stale butter, minor sweetness. A little foxy, in a Welch’s green grape juice sort of way, with acetic acid following. Actually tastes like wine, which is a surprise at this stage. I’ve tasted worse. There: praise. (5/10)


Renwood 2002 Zinfandel “Old Vine” (Amador County) – 15%. Twisted red and black berries fading to pine and layered with too-prominent coconut. This is about half spiced rum at this point. Which isn’t an entirely unusual fate for aging zinfandel, but this was better in its youth. (4/10)

Ed Meese

Edmeades 2000 Zinfandel Ciapusci (Mendocino Ridge) – 15.9%. Blackberry-infused whiskey, prune, licorice, and coconut rum. This might as well be 25.9% for all the heat, burn, and fire it shows. The wine has always been a wallop in the head, but I don’t think trying to age it was a good idea. (3/10)

Hawaiian tropic

Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Open 24 hours and tasted from a mostly empty bottle. Coconut oil, spicy earth, walnut, and chocolate. Good acidity. This is in a slightly weird state, and I have a disagreement with the source of the bottle; he thinks its ready to drink, I think it’s in need of more time. (3/10)


Cedarville 2000 Zinfandel (El Dorado) – 15.7%. I’ve never had a Cedarville wine that I didn’t think was too oaky for its own good, and this caused me to give up on the winery – despite palates I trusted trying to convince me otherwise – years ago. Based on this bottle, I kinda wish I’d listened. The oak, once lavish, has integrated; it’s not gone by any means, but it is now just a partner to the vibrant, spicy, mountain-pine and fields-of-berries fruit. That fruit, however, is still fairly primary, and there are no disjointed elements to the structure, so I can’t say that I think this is any danger of needing consumption. In fact, it might not even be ready yet. (3/10)

Valley, valley, valley

Ridge 2005 “Three Valleys” (Sonoma County) – 74% zinfandel, 13% petite sirah, plus little bits of carignane, grenache, and mataro. 14.2% alcohol. Dead, flat, stripped aromas of dark berries and wan, over-oxidized spices…like pepper that was ground three years ago…with a sad gesture at structure. Very, very tired. This wine has never been any good, and is frankly a bit of an embarrassment among the Ridge stable. (3/10)

Deux date

[bottle]Folie à Deux 1999 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 15.5%. From the Scott Harvey era, and even though I’d expected it to age based on that alone, I didn’t really intend to hold on to this particular bottle as long as I have. One of the single-site bottlings, perhaps, but this is the entry-level blend. Still, it’s held up pretty well. A little sappier and stickier than I might prefer, and with a concentrated, sloppy smooch of vanilla butter providing discomfort (even under Harvey, this was always a winery that was prone to sloppy overwooding), but the fruit reflects the Amador style: concentrated wild berries grown even more concentrated, almost to the point where they exhibit a resinous quality. It’s good, but drink up for sure. (2/10)

Tulocay for the straight guy

[logo]Tulocay 1999 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 15%. Though this wine will unquestionably age a good deal longer, changing as it does, I’m quite attracted to its present charms…poised on a pinnacle between the boisterous fruit of youth and the textural lavishness of maturity. The berries, dark and spicy, aren’t quite so wild anymore, but neither has the wine edged into one of those realms in which it can be mistaken for a different grape, as so often happens with well-matured zinfandel. I like that stage, too, but there are other ways to get to those places. Zin of this quality (and with these qualities) is something to be cherished on its own merits. (2/10)

100 meter

Dashe 2002 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) – 14.5%. About 50% there, which means that while the coconut and tannin are still hanging about, the suppler, spicier fruit of aged zin is starting to emerge. What this means in terms of drinkability, unfortunately, is that the pose is that of a somewhat gangly teenager. Wait a bit longer. (1/10)