What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking?

Posted by: Larry Roberts

What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 02:00:50

I might go back to a '76 Edmeades DuPratt (Mendo), which was sucked down in the late '80s - early '90s with loads of spicy fruit. Another one would be the '78 Ridge Paso Robles, which lasted a good decade and a half. I thought of this because I popped one of my own '99 Caernarvon Zins tonight (the last one tried was FLAT) and it's balanced and spicy-peppery and damn nice! Zin can age -- I can attest. I think alcohols have to be in the low-14s to give it a chance.
Posted by: Bob Davis

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 12:42:52

Enjoyed? Probably some Joseph Swans from around 2000-2001 I've opened over the last year. Still going strong.
BD
Posted by: Mel Hill

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 12:59:13

1991 Ridge Lytton Springs within the last two years
Posted by: Larry Roberts

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 13:39:05

Originally Posted By: Bob Davis
Enjoyed? Probably some Joseph Swans from around 2000-2001 I've opened over the last year. Still going strong.
BD

Yeah, I almost forgot the Swanees -- well made for bottle age.
Posted by: Bob Davis

Ooh, ooh, I forgot Geyservilles. - 06-08-2010 14:35:41

We did about a 20 bottle Ridge Geyserville vertical spanning 1976 to 2001 a few years ago. The 70's were interesting and I think the 78 was pretty good (original notes here: Geyserville TNs ). Nothing special about the 80's 90 and 91 were very good with the style noticeably changing around 93-94 to something more fruit forward.
BD
Posted by: Roland Dumas

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 18:44:13

Have had older zins that were still viable, but if the operative word is "enjoyed" then no contest: Ridge Lytton Springs 1994, sampled last year and year before. There are a (very) few wines that are so memorable that I can recall the experience clearly. That was one of those few.
Posted by: Brad Harrington

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 19:35:12

The 1970 and the 1971 Ridge Occidental Zins. I tasted them close to 10 years ago but had the chance to taste them within a week of each other, just by coincidence.

Nice wines, still drinking decently but like a light styled claret.

Very cool to try but 30 year old zins are probably not the best thing to be going for.
Posted by: Larry Roberts

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 19:48:43

Originally Posted By: Brad Harrington
The 1970 and the 1971 Ridge Occidental Zins. I tasted them close to 10 years ago but had the chance to taste them within a week of each other, just by coincidence.

Nice wines, still drinking decently but like a light styled claret.

Very cool to try but 30 year old zins are probably not the best thing to be going for.


Operative term: "claret style". I recall two visits to Ridge in the early 1980s and it was almost odd to see a label with an alcohol over 13-13.5%. The Paso Zin was an exception.
Posted by: Jeff Cuppett

Ridge Jimsomare Zins - 06-08-2010 20:50:51

A while back (1999), I attended a tasting of Ridge Jimsomares that Allan Bree hosted in San Mateo. There were several mid-80s zins we enjoyed that evening. The write-up can be found here: http://www.gangofpour.com/roadto/jimsomare/zins.html

That evening we also had an 1984 Dusi Ranch zin that Milan brought from his "not quite Thunder Mountain" days as well, that was quite good. I also had the pleasure several years later of trying a 1981 SCM Zin that Milan made which was also very nice.

That keys to most of those wines though you have hit on the head... think claret, not big Zin.

Cheers,
JC
Posted by: Bob Cuozzi

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 21:36:30

In the mid 90s when I was stationed at the Command & Genral Staff College in Leavenworth, KS there was a restaurant in Kansas City called Cafe Allegro. (some of the locals called it "Arm and Leg" ro)but it did have a really fun wine cellar. For a visit from my parents in we went there and had the 85 and 86 Ridge Geyserville's. My father, a man with a quite good palate, thought they were some obscure but very good Clarets grin He laughed when the wines were identified and the four adults polished off both bottles and we took a cab home smile

Bern's Steakhouse, Tampa FL has also had quite a collection of old Zins over the years. When I would come back to CENTCOM HQ a few times while stationed in the middle east in 96-97 some of my favorite wines were Ridge Zins from the late 60s and the 70s. Really superb bargains too!

Cheers, Bob
Posted by: TomHill

Wow.. - 06-08-2010 23:41:04

Originally Posted By: Bob Cuozzi
In the mid 90s when I was stationed at the Command & Genral Staff College in Leavenworth, KS there was a restaurant in Kansas City called Cafe Allegro. (some of the locals called it "Arm and Leg" ro)but it did have a really fun wine cellar. For a visit from my parents in we went there and had the 85 and 86 Ridge Geyserville's. My father, a man with a quite good palate, thought they were some obscure but very good Clarets grin He laughed when the wines were identified and the four adults polished off both bottles and we took a cab home smile
Cheers, Bob


Wow...now there's a name I've not heard in some time. It was, over the yrs, my all time favorite restaurant in KC...far surpassing the famed ArthurBryant's. :-) I understand SteveCole is still there in the City, but long out of the restaurant biz. He did have quite a nice wine list and would usually let us bring in a btl of dessert wine, if we shared. I think on Mon nights, all the wines on the list were half-price or something.
Tom
Posted by: Mike Christensen

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-08-2010 23:50:02

1968 Mayacamas Late Harvest - Last drunk in 1990
1973 Ridge Occidental - Drunk once in 1998
1970 Sutter Home "Deaver Lot II" - Drunk once in 1999
1972 Mayacamas Late Harvest - Last drunk in 2001
1992 Lytton Springs (not Ridge) - Last drunk in 2009
1987 Ravenswood Old Hill - Last drunk in 2009

Of these, only the Ridge Occidental seemed tired. The 1987 Ravenswood Old Hill and 1992 Lytton Springs may last another twenty years.

FWIW, I had the 1994 Lytton Springs (the last one made) last week. No slouch, but not in the same quality class universe as the 1992.
Posted by: Larry Roberts

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-09-2010 00:15:05

Originally Posted By: Mike Christensen
1968 Mayacamas Late Harvest - Last drunk in 1990
1973 Ridge Occidental - Drunk once in 1998
1970 Sutter Home "Deaver Lot II" - Drunk once in 1999
1972 Mayacamas Late Harvest - Last drunk in 2001
1992 Lytton Springs (not Ridge) - Last drunk in 2009
1987 Ravenswood Old Hill - Last drunk in 2009

Of these, only the Ridge Occidental seemed tired. The 1987 Ravenswood Old Hill and 1992 Lytton Springs may last another twenty years.


Your "Deaver" reminded my of '76 Carneros Creek "Deaver" and (I think) '76 Carneros Creek "Yolo County - Sutter Basin". Man, those were tasty suckers -- and '76 was a GREAT vintage for long-lasting Zins.
Posted by: BTraub

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-09-2010 04:31:05

Originally Posted By: Larry Roberts
[Operative term: "claret style". I recall two visits to Ridge in the early 1980s and it was almost odd to see a label with an alcohol over 13-13.5%. The Paso Zin was an exception.


Not always true, even with Ridge! I just attended a Jimsomare Vineyard tasting (both zins and cabs), and the two oldest Zins tasted, the 1968 and 1970, were 15% and 15.8%, respectively. Didn't taste like it, though, very well balanced and still alive.

On the other hand, three vintages from the early '80's were all under 12%. Go figure.

Full notes to be posted soon on Gang of Pour.
Posted by: Larry Roberts

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-09-2010 05:42:17

Originally Posted By: BTraub
Originally Posted By: Larry Roberts
[Operative term: "claret style". I recall two visits to Ridge in the early 1980s and it was almost odd to see a label with an alcohol over 13-13.5%. The Paso Zin was an exception.


Not always true, even with Ridge! I just attended a Jimsomare Vineyard tasting (both zins and cabs), and the two oldest Zins tasted, the 1968 and 1970, were 15% and 15.8%, respectively. Didn't taste like it, though, very well balanced and still alive.

On the other hand, three vintages from the early '80's were all under 12%. Go figure.

Full notes to be posted soon on Gang of Pour.


That was right at the time that both Mayacamas and David Bruce produced the "first" of the "Late Harvest" Zins that blew folks away. I'm guessing that the Ridge wines had concentrated acidity (low pHs) from dehydration as well as high sugar. It wasn't really their "house" style.
Posted by: TomHill

Well... - 06-09-2010 12:24:20

Originally Posted By: Mike Christensen

FWIW, I had the 1994 Lytton Springs (the last one made) last week. No slouch, but not in the same quality class universe as the 1992.


Mike,
As I recall, this was after Ridge had bought the vnyd & wnry. They continued w/ that (uugly) black LS label for a few yrs because they felt there was a following for that style of Zin (higher alcohol, slight VA) and that label that they should service.
Tom
Posted by: Ken Zinns

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-09-2010 13:57:45

Originally Posted By: Larry Roberts
Your "Deaver" reminded my of '76 Carneros Creek "Deaver" and (I think) '76 Carneros Creek "Yolo County - Sutter Basin". Man, those were tasty suckers -- and '76 was a GREAT vintage for long-lasting Zins.

I was lucky enough to share a bottle of '75 Carneros Creek Eschen Zin that Bob Summers brought along on a visit to the Sierra Foothills wine country in 2003. I would never have guessed that bottle was 28 years old - it was still holding up remarkably well with plenty of fruit and was very enjoyable.
Posted by: Larry Roberts

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-09-2010 14:17:36

Originally Posted By: Ken Zinns
Originally Posted By: Larry Roberts
Your "Deaver" reminded my of '76 Carneros Creek "Deaver" and (I think) '76 Carneros Creek "Yolo County - Sutter Basin". Man, those were tasty suckers -- and '76 was a GREAT vintage for long-lasting Zins.

I was lucky enough to share a bottle of '75 Carneros Creek Eschen Zin that Bob Summers brought along on a visit to the Sierra Foothills wine country in 2003. I would never have guessed that bottle was 28 years old - it was still holding up remarkably well with plenty of fruit and was very enjoyable.

Ah-ha... Carneros Creek didn't make a "Deaver" -- they did "Eschen" and "Esola" vineyard designate bottlings (and the Yolo/Sutter). Now I'm wondering who produced the "Deaver" (?)
Posted by: Bob Cuozzi

Cafe Allegro...KC back in the day. - 06-09-2010 14:29:37

Tom, yes, it was a fun place....excellent food and relaxed atmosphere...as opposed to say the American, as good as that could be with folks who went on to become famous chiefs. And I think Doug Frost (now big name MW etc) started at the American too. The old Classic Cup on the Plaza had a fine list too...lots of Jadot burgs & hard to find CA zins really nicely priced and a front man named Steven from Ireland who was a real hoot! I was not a real big Starkers food fan but wow that was a fine list back in the day too and my friends and I polished off many 70s era CA cabs while living in KS in the 90s....you could still get Heitz Martha's, Bella Oaks, Cask 23 etc at really cheap prices. Those were the days.

Anyway, the Allegro had an electrical problem at one point late in my time out there.....the cellar was probably compromised and they started having a fire sale of sorts...old Bordeaux for ridiculously cheap discounts (Figeac from a good vinatge at less than current retail cheap) and you could buy bottles to take home (something I think was not technically legal). Finally, there were rumors of financial problems, revolving staff after years of the same great folks, and the restaurant sank.

Oh well, cheers from wet Austin, TX, Bob
Posted by: TomHill

Yup - 06-09-2010 14:56:09

Originally Posted By: Larry Roberts
Originally Posted By: Ken Zinns
Originally Posted By: Larry Roberts
Your "Deaver" reminded my of '76 Carneros Creek "Deaver" and (I think) '76 Carneros Creek "Yolo County - Sutter Basin". Man, those were tasty suckers -- and '76 was a GREAT vintage for long-lasting Zins.

I was lucky enough to share a bottle of '75 Carneros Creek Eschen Zin that Bob Summers brought along on a visit to the Sierra Foothills wine country in 2003. I would never have guessed that bottle was 28 years old - it was still holding up remarkably well with plenty of fruit and was very enjoyable.

Ah-ha... Carneros Creek didn't make a "Deaver" -- they did "Eschen" and "Esola" vineyard designate bottlings (and the Yolo/Sutter). Now I'm wondering who produced the "Deaver" (?)

Larry's right. FrankMahoney/CarnerosCreek never did Deaver, only Esola & Eschen. The Deaver still all went to SutterHome and a lettle to CharlieMeyers/HarborWnry; the man who "discovered" Deaver & AmadorCnty as a home winemaker and helped to make ShenandoahVlly/Amador famous in the late '60's. Charlie quit making Amador Zin after his '78 Country-Style Zin that had a stuck fermentation, leaving all the Deaver to SutterHome.
In the '50's, early '60's, KenDeaver was feeding most of his grapes to his pigs. They were happy porkers and the quality of his pork chops was legendary.
Tom
Posted by: BTraub

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-10-2010 15:11:31

My notes on the Jimsomare tasting are now up on the Gang of Pour, here
Posted by: Kurt W.

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-11-2010 02:59:34

1985 Ravenswood Old Hill - drank in 2004; dusty old fruitcake spice, then opened up to rich plum; still had a decent core of fruit at 19 years.

1986 Sausal - drank in 1996; one of the best regular Sausal's ever made.

1992 Lytton Springs (not Ridge) - mentioned above; drank several bottles on release; one of the most concentrated, jammy, and powerful zins I've ever tasted; not surprised it held up.
Posted by: BEB

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-11-2010 11:22:02

1989 Ridge Howell Mtn Zin and 1990 Ridge Howell Mtn Zin when both were 20 years old. Both were excellent.
Posted by: Patrick DeLozier

Re: What's the oldest Zin you've ever enjoyed drinking? - 06-22-2010 16:45:57

Kinda surprised no mention of Storybook Mountain. Jerry made some very age-worthy zins back in the 80's, very early 90's. Claret-like, very enjoyable at the age of 10-15 years. I've still got one left (85 I think) I've been saving for an appropriate wine geek event.