'97 Zins - top picks - Printable Version

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- MikeE - 05-28-1999 09:44 AM

OK, for those of us who didn't attend ZAP and other tastings, we're interesting in picks for this year's releases. IMO, '96 was generally an adequate year for Zins after the great '93s and '94s and very good '95s. I've heard some dissension about '97 (some heralding the vintage, others claiming overripeness). It would be interesting to hear thoughts on the '97s and maybe a "top 5 for buying" list (price can be a factor though not a criterion)... any thoughts?

Thanks in advance

- Bucko - 05-28-1999 07:51 PM

Never miss ZAP. I thought (as a whole) the 97 vintage is very good and certainly better than 96.

Hellacious Acres, Dashe, Ridge Geyserville, and Rosenblum's Annette's Reserve were the standout's for me.


- Randy Caparoso - 05-28-1999 08:35 PM

I tell you somthing -- better enjoy those '97s (no matter how they "rate'), because the '98s will probably be uneven. I would also venture to say that many of the '97s will turn out wonderful because, frankly, vintners are getting better and better at feeling them out in the vineyards, and at raising them (elevage) in the winery. And this goes for even longtime producers like Ridge (who up until very recently were making them way over dillweedy-oaky).

But the best '97s? Gosh and golly, I'm still going through '96s! But among the early releases, I don't think anyone would disagree that the '97 De Loach "OFS" as well as '97 "Gambogi" are absolute winners -- big, lush, and intoxicatingly aromatic. The next best one that I have tried is the Everett Ridge from Dry Creek Valley; a new winery making wine from turn of the century vines, whose '97 is extraordinarily concentrated (blackberry, cassis, cinnamon-and-clove spice), with a finely polished texture and balance (reminiscent of the best Nalle's and the older Quivira's).

Frankly, I would suggest keeping an open mind about exactly what recent vintage is "superior." Because gee, many of these '96s are tasting awfully nice!

[This message has been edited by Randy Caparoso (edited 05-28-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 06-11-1999 12:21 AM

Okay. Just starting to get into '97s. Tasted two a couple of days ago -- both from Dry Creek Vineyards. The '97 Dry Creek "Heritage Clone" is a big boy, but quite focused; purplish ruby, with compact, jammy blackberry aromatics, and a fleshy, dense, wall-to-wall feel. The best I've ever tasted from this winery. The '97 Dry Creek "Old Vines" is more accessible; beautiful, bright, piquant raspberry jam fruitiness with some melting crayola-like oak shavings; fresh, zesty, yet densely formed fruit, medium full tannins filling a full (but not huge) body. I'd recommend both -- the "Heritage Clone," of course, for the unrepentently Zinful fanatics. Hail and well met, ye disciples of the purple tongue!

[This message has been edited by Randy Caparoso (edited 06-10-99).]

- misterjive - 06-28-1999 12:59 PM

(I used to have a friend who always referred to the book "Let's Go Europe" as "the wanker's guide," both because of its ubiquitousness and the slavish devotion its readers showed it. That being said, I have nothing against either the "Let's Go" series or Robert Parker Jr.'s Wine Advocate....)
So, I just received my wanker's guide, and I was interested to see what he had to say about 1997 Cali zins. Quite clearly, RPj opines that the two Martinellis (Jackass Hill and just plain Jackass) are the best of the bunch (rated 96 and 95, respectively). After Martinelli, Turley is the big winner here, coppping 90s throughout their zin portfolio. Of course, Parker always seems to hold a warm spot on his palate for Ridge selections, a sentiment I share. Now, before you all accuse me of doing a book report on this month's wanker's guide ("Why is he telling us these things? I can read it my damn self!#!#@%$#@!!"), let me simply underscore Parker's point that this was a huge crop, making the vintage "good, rather than exciting," in his words. Two more questions/comments: the 1997 Acorn Heritage Alegria intrigues me, because of its Ridge-like inclusion of Alicante Bouschet (and Petite Sirah) in the blend. Has anyone out there had it? Finally, why don't I hear more about Buehler zin? Parker neglects to review it, but finds time to review EVERYTHING ELSE! I like the stuff a great deal, and wonder what the rest of the world thinks about it.....

- Jason - 06-28-1999 08:02 PM

The Buehler is a total sleeper. Not cheap, but what is? The one you refer to is the Estate Zin. He also makes a regular Napa Selection that is very rustic and old style. The estate is very good stuff in the claret style. Even Paul Draper would be proud.

- primitivo - 06-30-1999 11:05 PM

Gentlemen, as a first time allocuter let me be brief. RP is consistent and so are the 3 R's, so for the 97 vintage I'll be sampling the under dogs from: Vigil-Lodi and Howell Mtn-they both show intensity and depth without appearing to have been on the vine too long and the Bogle Old vine for everyday drinking.

- hncjc - 07-01-1999 02:27 PM


You mentioned ZAP. What is that? I understand that there will be a ZAP tasting later this month here in DC. Should I go? Thanks for any help.


- Bucko - 07-01-1999 09:42 PM

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