Zinfandel for the Ages
Of late, due to the arrival of a new client at Wark Communications, I’ve been thinking about the idea of Aging Zinfandel. I have some experience with drinking older Zins, some as old as 25 years. My impression, generally, is that the best balanced and fruit forward zins that have good amounts of acid and tannins without alcohols that get overly hefty can turn into very interesting wines.
Yet, it’s hard to argue with young, juicy, exuberant Zin. This wine, which really is only available from California’s vineyards, is unmistakable. That briary and deep berry aroma often tinged with pepper or spice, and the mouth-filling flavors that at their best are dark and intense really argues for drinking young.
Paul Draper, the owner of Zin powerhouse Ridge Vineyards, has something to say about aging Zinfandel HERE.
And if you want to find out where to find older Zins to buy and taste, CLICK HERE.
I suspect I’ll be tasting more older Zins in the near future and will report back on the experience.
Louis Martini maintained that well-made Zinfandel would eventually age to resemble a well-made claret of comparable vintage.
When my father celebrated his 60th birthday some years back, we were able to test the proposition by opening a Zinfandel dating back to the mid-1930’s, not long post-Repeal. When the wine was first opened, its flavor profile certainly bore out Martini’s claims. That particular bottle faded fairly quickly after opening — not terribly surprising given its age — but it made a strong case in favor of aging Zinfandel while it lasted.
Of course, you probably don’t need anything quite *that* well-aged to prove the point.