'98 Xmas Wines - Printable Version

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- Karena Shannon - 01-12-1999 12:48 AM

Had two wines with the Xmas festivities, and have been too busy to post on them ‘til now. One sucked, one did not, which is why this is in the Zin folder. We had one red, one white, to go with lamb, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a lot of other Xmas dishes.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first…’96 L’Ecole #41 Semillon “WA” (?---it wasn’t the single-vnyd. offering): Everyone at dinner disliked this. Not much there besides acid and water. No lanolin, no richness, no lemon; there just wasn’t a whole lot to like about this wine. Lots of unfinished glasses.
Possible caveats: this was picked up at BevMore, on their “we wanna’ get rid of this” cart. Their storage of wine has been proven to my satisfaction to not be the best, and I no longer think of buying Rieslings or Champagne there, too many bad experiences. This also wasn’t one of their vnyd-designates, and we all have experienced what happens when a winery really gets on the single-vineyard train, without a second label: all of the crap gets pushed into the wines with the broadest possible appelations. I still want to try the “Fries’ Vnyd” Semillon but I feel no need to retry this particular wine again.
The red was much better: ’95 Rosenblum Maggie’s Reserve Zinfandel. After multiple tastes of this and some other Rosenblum offerings, I am still firmly in the camp of drinking these Zins as soon as possible, taking advantage of their huge expressive fruit. There’s nothing wrong with making wines that require this approach; try Dennis John’s White Cottage wines as the apotheosis of this style. I haven’t tried a Rosenblum zin from the early 90’s, like many of you have, but for my palate, these wines give up far too much lush fruit, for any added complexity that aging may give them. Further, I don’t find them so closed, or so mouth-searingly tannic as to require lots of cellaring, a la Scott Harvey-era Renwood Zins. Anyway, this example of Maggie’s still had plenty of raspberry/mint/chocolate flavors, and lots of glycerin. Just yummy with everything and an excellent Zin.

- Bucko - 01-12-1999 07:19 AM

The regular L'Ecole Semillon cannot hold a candle to the Fries Vineyard designated wine - I did not like the regular bottling either.