TN: Three LH Zins & Two Calif Ports..(short/boring)

Tried these all over the last few days:

  1. RosenblumCllrs Zin LateHrvst RRV (16.4%; SaH: 38 Brix in Nov’93; RS: 8%; U/U) 1993: Tons of sediment; med.color murkey w/ some browning; very ripe slight raisened/pruney/LHZin bit alcoholic strong boysenberry/blackberry/chocolaty bit Portish nose; quite sweet bit alcoholic/hot strong ripe/LateHrvsty/boysenberry/blackberry/jammy/chocolaty bit Portish flavor w/ light tannins; very long very ripe rather sweet LateHrvsty/boysenberry/blackberry/chocolaty/huge fruit bit hot/alcoholic finish w/ very light tannins; still a ton of fruit and rather overripe/LateHrvsty but not particularly pruney/raisened or drying out.

  1. Fritz Zin LateHrvst DryCreekVlly (EB; Hrvstd: Oct 7’87; SaH: 35.3 Brix; TA: 1.05 gm/100ml; pH: 3.44; 17.3%; RS: 4.3 Brix) 1987: Dark color w/ some bricking; intense blackberry/framboise/chocolaty/huge Zin fruit/spicy/peppery no LateHrvsty/raisened light pencilly/oak w/ little alcoholic heat lovely comlex nose; rather tart very spicy intense blackberry/framboise/Zin/boysenberry/huge fruit bit chocolaty some complex flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very long/lingering fairly tart/rich/lush huge fruit/blackberry/framboise/bit chocolatey/very spicy somewhat sweet complex finish w/ light/smooth tannins; in terrific shape for a 25 yr old LateHrvstZin; alcohol not at all obvious and no raisened/pruney character; still a young wine; terrific stuff.

  1. MontereyPeninsulaWnry Zin LateHrvst Calif (“Natural Vintage Port-like style”; 17.5%; SaH: 29 Brix; RS: 5.0%; old dry-farmed vnyd near Lodi; Frmtd on skins 12 days; frmtd in casks for another 2 yrs: RLT) SandCity 1980: Rather pale/brown light red color; rather earthy/dusty/OV some herbal/Kansas hay mow slight alcoholic little fruit rather tawney Port-like/smokey/smoked keilbasa quite complex nose; soft some lush/blackberry/Zin bit alcoholic rather earthy/dusty/OV/mushroomy/Lodi very TawneyPort/complex bit smokey/oak/smoked keilbasa beautiful flavor w/ no tannins; very long earthy/dusty/mushroomy/OV slight alcoholic very old TawneyPort/complex slight blackberry/jammy/Zin some smokey/oak beautiful/complex finish w/ no tannins; very much like an old TawneyPort w/o the alcohol; some like the old Ridge Lodi Essence; a lovely old TawneyPort. $7.00/hlf

  1. RosenblumCllrs Calif PetiteSirah Port ElDoradoCnty (18.5%; Drk: '89-'04: KR) 1989: Med.dark color w/ some bricking; strong alcoholic some earthy/dusty little fruit bit complex/oldPorto slight mushroomy/forest floor bit wet Army blanket/mousey nose; soft quite alcoholic/hot rather earthy/dusty/mushroomy bit old Port flavor w/ little tannins; med. rather fumey/alcoholic/hot earthy/dusty/mushroomy no fruit finish w/ little tannins; mostly alcohol and not much else; time has not been kind to this Port.

  1. Hawk & Horse Vnyds Latigo DessertWine RedHills/LakeCnty (Organically grown CabSauvg; 16%; DavidBoies/Napa 2006: Dark color; very strong grapey/plummy/blackcurranty rather alcoholic/EverClear rather Portish/young nose; quite sweet soft some hot/alcoholic/Portish intense grapey/plummy/blackcurranty/huge fruit bit tannic flavor; very long intense/grapey/plummy/blackcurranty/jammy Portish rather alcoholic/fumey/EverClear/hot finish w/ light tannins; much like JimOlsen’s JWMorris PortWorks out of Emeryville; a bit hot/fumey but a good Port that should go out 20 yrs.

And a wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. MontereyPeninsulaWnry: Now there’s a name from out of the dim-distant past. Founded in 1974 by DickKnuckton and RoyThomas. They made some pretty intense Zins (and Cabs and Barberas) back in their day. I gather they’re still in business but haven’t seen their wines in ages. They may be only a label owned by someone now. The story is here:

  1. Fritz: Here’s a wnry I’ve not heard nor seen in yrs. Founded in 1979. They made some pretty good Zins in their day. I gather they’re still in business but have a very low profile as best I can tell.

  1. LateHrvst Zins: I’ve followed Zinfandel in Calif from the very start…when AgostonHaraszthy put them in the ground up at BuenaVista. It’s been an interesting journey. Back in the late-'60’s/early-'70’s, when they started to treat the grape w/ some respect; they likes of Ridge/DavidBruce/SutterHome (yeah…that very same SutterHome) started to push the boundaries of the grape, harvesting later & later (sound like a familiar story??) and pushing the alcohols higher & higher. Generally, if the Zins got above 14.0%, they would be labeled LatePicked or LateHarvest. Sometimes the fermentations would stick and leave some RS in the wine. Sometimes, these would be labeled Zinfandel Essence (think the term is now prohibited). In the early '80’s, there was a backlash against the alcoholic wines; led by CharlieOlken & EarlSinger (“alcoholic monsters w/ shabby table manners”). This ushered in the “food wine” Zinfandels of the '80’s; Zins harvested early and w/ anemic alcohol levels. It was a disaster and durn near killed the Zinfandel market. Fortunately, winemakers came to their senses and rejected the “food wine” paradigm.
    Nowadays, it’s mighty hard to find a Zinfandel under 14%. Oftentimes, they are above 15%, sometimes as high as 17%. I cannot recall the last time I saw a Zinfandel labeled as LateHarvest, like most of these would be labeled back in the '70’s. What’s interesting to me is that many of these 15%+ Zins of the mordern era smell/taste perfectly ripe, do not show the late harvst/raisened/pruney flavors, carry the alcohols well; unlike those back in the '70’s. Not at all sure why that is. I’d be interested in knowing how much of a role RO plays in our Zins these days. Anyway, today’s Zins are awfully darned good, better than they ever were.

I have not seen a L-H Zin in years but then up here in Alberta!!

I never liked the Late Harvest Zins of the 70s and 80s and will not purchase them today (I most recently passed on a Ridge Jimsomare release, even though I love the vineyard, for this very reason). Had a 16.2% Martinelli Vellutini Ranch (I think it was an '11) recently that came across as very well balanced and light on its feet and was a great pairing with grilled steak. I have no idea how much RO goes on in high-end CA Zin circles, but I’d be surprised if Ridge utilized this technique.

Actually, Mike…Ridge has used RO. The YorkCreek Zins always tended to come in on the overripe side, until Paul insisted that they (Ridge)
make the picking decision, not Fritz. In one yr, back in the '90’s, they did RO on a batch of the YC Zin and released it as “SpringMtnDistrict” Zin.
They acknowledged using RO on the side label. I liked it a lot better than the un-RO’d YC Zin.
But, only that one time, have they used RO, to my knowledge. They have released Zins that I thought might have benefited from RO.
LH Zins can be a mixed bag. Most of the Turley & Carlisle Zins are what would have been labeled in the '70’s as LH Zin. But they’re
a long way from whot those '70 LH’s were like.
I even wrote an article back in the '80’s for WineSpec (shhhhhh…don’t want people to know I actually once wrote for WS) “In Defense of
LateHrvst Zinfandel”. It was one of my usual [stirthepothal.gif] gems. The claim of wine writers then is that they didn’t pair well with food.
I scoffed at that assertion…that it only showed a lack of imagination on their part in choosing a dish to go w/ those wines.