Old Vines Zinfandel
Cellar Craft Showcase Collection
Bottled June 2014
Zinfandel, as it is known in California, is the ancient Croation variety Tribidrag. The southern Italians identify it as Primitivo. This “regional” naming is not unique to Zinfandel, e.g., Grenache in France, Garnacha in Spain.
This Zinfandel juice is from Lodi, California. Lodi, known as the Zinfandel capital of the world, is in the North Central Valley, northeast of San Francisco. The soils of Lodi tend to be sandy clay, providing adequate drainage for the vines along with much-needed water retention properties. Zinfandel benefits from Lodi’s climate, featuring hot days and cool nights, with rainfall evenly dispersed throughout the year. Daytime temperatures throughout the summer and early fall are in the 33°C range; the nighttime average is 14°C. The high temperatures promote deep ripening; cool temperatures help to maintain acidity and freshness of flavours.
The old vines are 35 years old. Throughout the Old World, to be considered old, vines must be 50 – 100 years of age. In the New World vines are considered old at 25 – 30 years. The significance of old vines lies in what they contribute to the end product. The roots of older vines are deeper and more well-established, enabling them to find and retain nutrients. Yields from old vines are reduced over time, concentrating flavours in the fruit that is available. Fruit flavours in older vines tend to be more stable and predictable, meaning less variance in flavours from one vintage to the next.
The Cellar Craft Showcase Old Vines Zinfandel is a deep cherry colour, free from any residue or cloudiness.
The pronounced aromas include blackberry, black cherry, bitter chocolate, violet, cedar, traditional baking spices and vanilla, with a faintly herbal undertone.
The flavours very much mimicked the aromas, with jammy plum and an additional sweetness reminiscent of sultana raisin. Black pepper notes prevailed throughout and were pronounced on a lingering peppery finish. The mouthfeel is lush and smooth. This is a medium to full-bodied wine.
This Old Vines Zinfandel is in good balance with plenty of fruit flavour, somewhat chewy but with supple tannins and enough acidity to make this a wine that can be enjoyed on its own as well as with barbecued meats, roast chicken (particularly with a dry, spicy rub) or spicy tomato-based dishes such as Cioppino.
Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
By Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier