old zin question

Just wondering if someone’s got the data on this. I think I’m pretty sensitive to mercaptans (I used to work with a lot of mercaptoethanol in a lab) and I find a very similar character in a fairly high percentage of old zinfandels (> 10-15 years). Closest comparison is burning tires. Is that a mercaptan compound I’m smelling and, also, why more in zin but not much in other varieties? For point of reference it is distinctly different from the sulfur, reduced, char you can get say in a really young Alban syrah. Gracias.

I drink a fair bit of old Zinfandel, and have picked up a burned rubber aroma in a few, but it’s not been common. Any particular wines you can mention where you noticed the aroma?

I can’t say it’s correlated to particular producers and I’ve had a bunch. I’d guesstimate I pick it up in 15-20% of zins with more than 15 years of age. Zins from the 70s I’ve had in the last decade I’d say a much higher percentage. Had a 2013 Ridge Geyserville last night, kept under less than ideal but not bad storage, and I got just the faintest wiff of it (not enough to detract, it was overall excellent) but got me wondering about the question again. Perhaps my threshold is just lower although I perceive some other things like TCA and brett less than my peers. Cheers

I was wondering if you would mention Ridge, since their Geyserville is never all Zin. I have run into it with some of the uber-ripe Zins, but not Ridge.

Thread drift alert

The bolded part in not accurate per the percentage on the labels. 1980 was labeled as 100% Zin (from hillside vineyards!), 1981 was 95% Zin and 5% Petite Sirah, 1982 was 90% and10% PS and 1983 was 85% Zin and 15% PS.

OK. You caught me being inaccurate about a vintage that came out when I was 13. Happy about that?