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Jun 17, 2012 05:21 PM

Playing with Aged Zins

I am drinking a 1977 Clos du Val Zinfandel right now. It has been decanted for about an hour. It is wildly purple in the glass, with notes of blackberry and cherry- and *spice*...much like the aged Geyservilles (one of my favorites). Truly a superb wine from a superb vintage. If this were a blind tasting.....I am not sure Iwould know what variety of grape is in the glass. It is fascinating....almost cab-like. I know that most folks don't think that Zin can/should be aged. Not a ton of interest, except to those of us with weird esoteric ideas :) However, a classic, well structured Zin - aged 20 years or more, becomes something ethereal. Really. A unique experience....not found outside the USA!.......if you are playing with cellaring- give it a try :)

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    1. Not surprised about aging Zin - was unaware that most believe it can't or shouldn't be done.

      I am surprised that the 35 year old wine retains a youthful "wildly purple" color.

      I don't recall 1977 as being noted as a "superb" vintage.

      3 Replies
        1. re: FrankJBN

          I think it is "common knowledge" (among wino's) that most believe that aging zin is typically somewhat of a *waste of time*.

          Only a handful of zins are structured enough for the test of time-that is - to actually IMPROVE and turn into something special, with age. Historically, certain vintages of Ridge, Clos du Val, Heitz, Simi and a few others. Mostly zin tends to become flat and flabby with bottle age. However- when you age the right zin from the right vintage....Boooo Ya! NOTHING compares.

          I wish I was younger as I suspect there are many more drought years to come! I just won't have time to lay them down for 30 years.

          The 1976, 77 and of course the 1978 were interesting years. The 76 drought caught everyone off guard ( a few wines were stellar that year too),the 77 more were prepared and many, many folks made stellar wine that year....then the 1978 goes down in history. I still have alot of Krug, Beaulieu and Inglenook from 78 :) If I could figure out how to upload photo's I would love to take pictures of the color of these wines. You would be amazed at the vibrancy and youthfulness.

          Anyway, maybe some kid will read this and be interested in aging zins :)

          1. re: sedimental

            Exactly as with Bdx, or Burgs, aged wines can be a personal thing. One might love it, and gush, where the next might hate it, and wonder what the "big deal is."


        2. If you ever get to Tampa, the much lauded wine list at Bern's Steakhouse has 4-5 pages of pre 1980 Zins. One time did a vertical of Ridge Geyserville and Lytton Springs.1975, 1978, 1980, oh my. They were all in perfect condition.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Oh, very nice!

            I think aging Zin can be an interesting and a much less expensive alternative to aging Bords and Burgs for the smaller home cellar. Same thing with certain big CA chardonnay's. "Non traditional agers" can be really fabulous and affordable.

            Trying to buy them can be a challenge as they take up as much cellar space as much more expensive and "sought after" wines, so bigger collectors don't give them much space. When I have occasionally put them up for private auction they go very fast (not for much money compared to other wines) but they generate a lot of bids very quickly.

            1. re: sedimental

              Found selling a vertical of Turley Hayne Zinfandel very difficult and would have lost money, from 1994 to current. The Hayne PS sold immediately for a nice premium, thus what you say seems to be true. l still have 2 mags of 1978 Sutter Home Amador that are wonderful, have drunk one. This was just before They started with white zin.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Although only a "youngster" , I recently had a 2001 Joseph Swan Zin that was killer.

                1. re: tito

                  We recently finished a case of Joseph Swan Zin 2001 that was killer.

                  1. re: wally

                    Yes! I have not had many Swan Zins, but I think they are from the Russian River, right? I actually floated down it in an inner tube :) I believe I tried some at a relatives house and was really impressed!

                    Now, THAT wine would age well.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      They actually just release some 2007 Zins. I find it interesting that a winery releases a Zin that late but apparently they know what they are doing!!

                      My shipment arrived last week!

          2. Good subject and my 2 cents on Ridge. The sturdier Zinfandel blends such as Geyserville and Lytton Springs may age very, very well. But my experience with their ATP Zinfandels that can be 98, 99 even 100% Zinfandel should probably be consumed sooner rather then later. There are exceptions of course.