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Nov 1, 2008 03:24 PM

Over the hill. . .

I admit it. I have a strange weakness for Over the Hill Wines. Last night we opened a 1997 Ravenswood Old Vines Zinfandel, a wedding gift. (My Book Club gave me a basket of wines, one from each member. I suspect someone's husband of slipping her this one from their cellar.) BUT, but, but. . . I thought it very very lovely. Of course, it was just a shadow of its former self, but the nose was as sweetly variable as a summer breeze. The taste was always fine, even though slight. No finish, but the garnet color was beautiful. I was reminded of many ancient burgundies I tasted with my former husband at fancy wine dinners, where the men would refuse to drink more than a sip of some biblical wine too far gone for their standards of vigor and robustitude. To me, the dying wines were stories; ghosts of their well-made selves, a privilege to taste.

My current husband and I drink so cheaply, that a wine with age, even too much, is a treat. But even he felt a bit cheated, while I just enjoyed.

What about you?

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  1. Current husband? Do you have mixed feeling for your future.

    1 Reply
    1. re: normalheightsfoodie

      yikes. please don't tell my husband I called him my current husband! Just to distinguish him from first, winenut husband. Current is my one and only.

    2. Good timing. I just had this conversation with someone earlier tonight. I always try to err on the side of caution and prefer to drink the wines too young rather than too old. A wine opened too soon provides anticipation for the future; a wine opened to late makes me wonder about what could have been.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mengathon

        meng, you're sounding a lot like confucius there...

        1. re: maria lorraine

          I'll happily take that as a compliment. But I doubt I can match the Confuciusness of a cartoon character...

          Yesterday is history
          Tomorrow is a mystery
          But today is a gift
          That is why it is called the present

          -Master Oo-guay, Kung-Fu Panda

          Mystery is what's fun about cellaring wine right?

      2. I'm still waiting to open some zinfandel older than yours. But they are from Ridge.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Brad Ballinger

          Thanks to advice here and consulting cellartracker (also thanks to advisors here) I learned that our gift zin was not one of Ravenswood's hardiest. The cellartracker notes on other Ravenswood zins were great reading and showed that they were going strong. I've wondered if any CA makers are still making zins to age.

          1. re: pickypicky

            Not exactly ancient, but I just found some '03 Ravenswood Dickerson Vineyard Zin (a wine I always enjoy for its distinctive mint/eucalyptus notes) available at a local retailer which I happily grabbed and may stow away for a while longer. I think the Ravenswood single vineyards are capable of aging decently, Ridge zins are supposed to do very well. I recently had a '97 Turley (Dogtown, not a particularly distinguished vineyard) which still had quite bright fruit, but had lost some depth in the mid-palate, like the middle had fallen out. I've held some Seghesio zins for 6-7 years from vintage and they've generally still been quite good.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              I agree about the older Ravenswood single-vineyard offerings. I have the '00 - '03 Dickerson, plus a few more. The later ones, just before Joel sold out, not so much.

              Now, I have enjoyed both the Turley Dogtown and the Biale version and would not diminish either, but that's just me.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I'm not saying the Dogtown was bad by any means, only that it doesn't have the most cachet of the many various Turley bottlings.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Gotcha'. I misread, or misunderstood. Thanks for the clarification.

                  Always appreciated,


        2. This post motivated me to pull out a bottle of 93 unfiltered Mondavi Cab. It was perfect and full bodied.

          1 Reply
          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

            That is good to know as I have both 92 ans 94 in my cellar. Unfortuntely no 93.