'05 vintage - Printable Version

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- brappy - 09-30-2007 01:51 AM

Just wanted to give a small warning for you Zin lovers. '05 is NOT the year to buy. With very little exceptions, most just didn't get ripe enough to do anything. After tasting through 375 zins (in which 95% were '05s) over 2 days, my tongue felt as if it was going to fall off. There were exceptions, but very few. Hendry and Rosenblum were across the board exceptions. A few others were very good in 1 or 2 of the single vineyards or reserve wines.

Earlier in the year, I went through some Carlisle zins and these also were an exception although I've tasted much better from them in different years.

Anyway, not trying to start a debate here, just stating my thoughts after tasting sooooooo many.


- Innkeeper - 09-30-2007 09:49 AM

Did any of those 375 include those from Tobin James? I guess we are going to start getting those in the fall shipment!

I also have an Easton Amador Zin from '05. Will have to check it out soon.

[This message has been edited by Innkeeper (edited 09-30-2007).]

- dananne - 09-30-2007 11:51 AM

Did you happen to notice from where the underripe ones tended to come, or were they sprinkled all over the various regions? On our recent trip to Sonoma, many folks were pouring the '05s, and we tasted perhaps a hundred, all told, from Dry Ck Vly, RRV, Napa, Sonoma, etc. I was actually mildly surprised and pleased, having heard similar reports. What I liked is that I found far fewer of the explosive, high-octane Zins that I don't really enjoy (I call them Zin Monsters), and more of the Claret-style Zins I do enjoy. I found several with very nice balance that will be quite versatile with food, moreso than typical Zins from riper years. Most of what I tried seemed ripe enough, but there were a few exceptions, noteably from Dry Creek Vly, so I did see some of what you noticed. So, maybe the '05s will appeal to people like me who like a different style of Zin. Not trying to argue with your educated take, just offering a different perspective. I do agree that people who like the bigger Zins may be disappointed. Didn't see many of those from the '05 vintage.

[This message has been edited by dananne (edited 09-30-2007).]

- brappy - 10-01-2007 03:00 AM

IK, I've not tasted either winery's wines. I should have included this in with my thoughts above, but from the central coast (Tobin James), the wines were better. I do not know anything about Easton. And for that matter, I don't know anything about where they are from. Sorry...

Dananne, I tasted from the same areas as you and also a little from the central coast. I think I understand the style you like. Are you familiar with Hendry Zins? They make 2 different Zins that i know of. (They may make more but I only know of 2) Block 28 and the block 7. I believe if you were to taste these zins side-by-side you would prefer the block 7. "Claret" is a great adjective to use describing this wine. The earth comes out more, the fruit isn't so "in your face, etc... Whereas the block 28 is fruit forward and completely fruit driven. I believe this one would be your "Zin Monster". If you do try these wines, I'd love to hear your results.

However, even with your Zin preference, i believe '05 just didn't produce enough ripe fruit; and seemed to mask that fact with over acidification. I don't have anything against adding acid to balance out a wine, but when it takes the wine out of balance, well.... Or the natural acid was just too high and the fruit didn't produce enough sugars to balance....

I just remembered you posted trip notes sometime back and I never had the chance to read them. I'll do so now.....

OK. That was long, but a very entertaining read.

Of the wineries you went to, Harvest Moon and Frank Family Vineyards were the only similar wines tasted last week.

Through reading your notes, I realize our palates are a world apart. At another tasting earlier this year, I tasted through the Martinelli Zins and really liked them whereas I was very underwhelmed with Harvest Moon and Frank Family. You don't like higher alchol; I rarely will even look at the alc%. I believe we both look for balance but our definition of balance differs (ie: alc, oak, ripeness, etc.). Different strokes i guess.

I'd love to taste with you some time. Such an event might just be a real eye opener on both sides of the table.

Great notes in your trip thread, by the way. Specially liked your view on blending. Agree with that view 100%.


- wondersofwine - 10-01-2007 06:05 PM

I'll be in Central Coast and Sonoma County for a week mid-October and Rosenblum is one tasting room I may be visiting in Healdsburg.
Interested in your notes. I may prefer the more restrained type of Zin also but I do like it to be fruity and occasionally go for a high-alcohol Zin like the Biale Black Chicken if the fruit balances out the alcohol. Don't know if I'll have time to visit Ridge/Lytton Springs but that was my first love with Zins.

- dananne - 10-01-2007 09:04 PM

Mark, I think you're probably hitting the nail on the head when you say we likely don't share the same idea of "balance." "Balanced" to one is not necesarily "balanced" to another, and it probably just means we have different palates. I agree that people that like the more fruit-driven Zins may be disappointed in the '05s, though maybe less so with some of the general blends. Of the ones that we tried that suffered from a lack of fruit, many were single vineyard wines. I suppose it's more difficult to cover up things like that when you're not blending from different vineyard sources, which may have produced grapes of varying ripeness.

Regarding the wines we've both tried, we really liked Harvest Moon's whole lineup, but they have a somewhat distinctive (some would say contoversial) style and winemaking philosophy when it comes to things like alc levels. Like you, we didn't like anything we tried at Frank Family, save for an average Pinot from Carneros that we bought mainly out of politeness. Their other wines were completely unmemorable.

Perhaps I'm wrong about this, and maybe someone will clear up what may be a misunderstanding, but I was under the impression that winemakers tended to add acids to "push back" against over ripe fruit that would otherwise produce a flabby wine, not add acids when the alc levels are coming in low. Is that what you're saying you think happened with the '05s? Or is it that they have higher natural acids, but lack the fruit to balance it out? Maybe they added acids, treating the fruit like they have done in recent hotter vintages, but this time the fruit wasn't there and they ended up with too much acidity? In general, we didn't see what you've observed, but it'd still be interesting to see what happened there.

I have not tried the Hendry Block 28, but I do enjoy the Block 7, and have had it twice in the past, so you're probably on target with the types of Zins I enjoy.

I'll also say that, in addition to probable palate differences, you also tasted far more Zins than we did, and we didn't have a chance to sample wines from other places that you may have had the opportunity to try, like Paso, Central Coast, Lake, etc., so our take on the Zins is specific to the areas around where we stayed in Sonoma. So, you've probably got a wider range from which to draw conclusions on the '05s.

Thanks for the nice words on the trip notes, and yes, I'd love the opportunity to taste with you sometime. My cellar door is always open if you should make it to Atlanta, and I'll certainly let you know if we're ever in your neck of the woods. Of course, another offline would solve this, and we haven't attended one since the Washington offline in the summer of '05!

Jane -- In Healdsburg, I'm sure you'll stop at Selby, but if you have the chance, also give Thumbprint a try. We had never heard of them before, and we liked several wines from them. Also, if you get up Dry Creek Road, try and make it to Papapietro-Perry and Amphora, which were two good stops for us.

- brappy - 10-02-2007 02:08 AM

Dananne, you're exactly correct in reference to adding acid. I went back and reread what I had written and thought "What the......??". I guess that is what happens when you mix typing/writing with quaffing.

This (Your quote)"Or is it that they have higher natural acids, but lack the fruit to balance it out?" is what I was attempting to say. Thanks for clarifying my thought. [img][/img]

Yeah, if you get to this area, I'd love to taste/drink some wine. Stop on by, but don't plan on leaving too soon. There's too much wine in the cellar for that.

Jane, don't miss Rosenblum. I wasn't taking notes, unfortunately. I was hosting the tasting. I was able to taste all the wines, just didn't have time to take notes. Have fun on your trip!


- Kcwhippet - 10-02-2007 10:53 AM

Jane, If you're going to be at Rosenblum, why not stop at Lytton Springs? You'll be right up the street - less than a ten minute drive.