TN: 1975 Fetzer Zinfandel, Ricetti Vineyard

1975 Fetzer Zinfandel, Ricetti Vineyard, Mendocino County. Opening older bottles is always a gamble, and Zinfandel in particular can be hit/miss…but this one was a home freaking run! Top of the cork was in excellent shape and the color looked great through the glass which is always a good sign. But when the wine poured a ruby red color (with a bit of bricking) and the nose jumped out with cinnamon and spicy red fruits, I knew it was going to be a good night. Slightly bitter/tight on the palate at first but it opened up quickly into a beautiful wine filled with red fruits, cinnamon, florals, and a hint of tobacco on the finish. Lively, energetic, and fresh thanks to the acidity, this was literally exactly what I was hoping for and more. Fetzer made some REALLY great wines in the 70’s.


The label is in mint condition!


Right! Huge ‘thank you’ to the person that took such good care of this bottle for many years!

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I’m sure you saw it but I posted a very positive CT note on this a few months ago!

I did (and even responded to your note i think), and it made me more excited to open it! Really glad that mine showed as well as yours did.

I have a bottle of the 78 in the cellar - Fingers crossed it hits at the same level :cheers:

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Thanks for the note. Fetzer had access to some great vineyards and made good use of the grapes. They also periodically released older vintages at the tasting room in Hopland over the years. I recall purchasing a number of bottles from 1976-1981 back in the early 1990s. Those bottles were in pristine condition then, but I have long since finished them.


That’s awesome that they used to release older vintages at the tasting room! And i agree they seem to have had access to some great Vineyards back then. I wonder when they made the shift/business decision to focus on more mass-produded/volume wines?

Nice note Rich, well aged Zin is one of my favorite wines to drink. They aren’t all home runs but when they are it’s amazing.


Great note Rich. I remember a ‘73 Ricetti I opened about 10 years ago that was alive and well at 40. Love it when old Zins perform like this.

  • 1973 Fetzer Zinfandel Ricetti - USA, California (8/24/2013)
    Old Vine Offline 2 (Forestville, CA): Opened last night during an Old Vines Offline and this note is from the remaining wine kept in the fridge under cork.
    Color is advanced and brick red from edge to edge, nose giving off cedar and dried cherries, strawberry preserves on entry turning to tart cherry across the mid-palate, medium texture with fine mouth drying tannins. Still got it going on after 40 years!

Posted from CellarTracker


That’s exactly right! Definitely can be hit/miss but it’s worth the chase when they’re on :cheers:

Love that Brian! Fetzer seems to have done really well with the Ricetti Vineyard. Anyone try one of these after they were first released?

This would be a birth year wine for me and might be the most surprising one I’ve seen yet.

Great notes and it’s a wonderful moment when something shocks and delights like that.

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To me WB is about 30% American wine porn… I voyeuristically read these notes, feel a pang of jealousy and realize how much great stuff was made down south that I couldn’t purchase when I was in Canada. And now that I’m in France, I’m out of luck again. There’s plenty of upside to where I’m at but man, anybody who looks down on American wine should be tarred and feathered.

Keep it going guys! :wine_glass:

Well cheers to you then buddy! :cheers:

And i totally agree, one of the best parts of this ‘hobby’ is when a wine overperforms (and in this case…by a large amount, ha!)

We’ll done Rich, Fetzer made some terrific wines!

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When they hired Paul Dolan. In his first year at Fetzer, 1977, they bottled 5,000 cases of wine. In 1981 they sold 245,000 cases!

Wow! Quite the shift within 4 years, ha!

Here’s an interesting link to a short article on Fetzer wines from the Washington Post in 1981. The byline? None other than Robert M. Parker Jr. He mentions the Lolonis vineyard, which was planted around 1940, and Fetzer also made a DuPratt vineyard, as I recall, planted in 1919. They may also have made Pacini. All good wines to look for at auction.

Awesome article Brian, thanks for sending! I acfually have a couple of those wines in the cellar…so we’ll see how they have held up compared to what our guy Robert Parker said about em back in the day, ha! :wink:

“Robert M. Parker and Jr.”?

So who was his co-author? Junior Parker, I assume. Maybe Junior Wells or that Griffey kid?

That article is a bit of an irony mine as well.