Reveling in Zin of course! I tasted 4 zins: The Big Green Box Old Vine Zin, Four Vines Old Vine Cuvee 2007, Glaymond Barossa Valley 2003, and Bianchi Zen Ranch 2007. This post discusses the first two wines, and in a second post I’ll write about Bianchi and Glaymond.
To celebrate Global #Zinfandel Day Friday Nov. 19, I started in on zin on Thursday with a Four Vines 2007 Old Vine Cuvee which I picked up at The Ventura Wine Company for $11.
I admit, the Old Vine Zin Cuvee wasn’t the wine I wanted from Four Vines. Last year, I’d gone in to buy another bottle of the Biker ($20 at VWC, $28 from the Winery) which Wine Spectator placed in the Top 100 of last year’s releases. The Biker was a fantastic example of zinfandel, and my husband, who doesn’t like to spend much on wine and will drink good beer over bad wine encouraged me to get more.
Even though they’d gotten in another shipment, by the time I got in the shop, that was gone too so at some point I made do with the Old Vine Cuvee. Which, I am sorry to say, was a disappointment. It has a beautiful color, and a nice jammy-molassesy nose with a hint of licorice, but I don’t want an slightly effervescent wine–that made it instantly off-putting to me. As that calmed down in the glass, my appreciation of the wine improved but I still looked at it a bit askance. Once past the effervescence, the wine is full of brambly fruit and burnt sugars with some menthol and anise thrown in and maybe a bit of leather too. And I hate to say this, but it also gave me some GERD (and yes, I’m quite sure it’s from the wine).
Since the Biker was so awesome, I am willing to give Four Vines another chance. I imagine this was just a bad bottle. It has a stelvin finish which I know some people swear by but maybe? You never know. Alcohol of 14.6% is typical for a zin. While Four Vines Winery is based in Paso Robles, the grapes came from various locations (Lodi, Amador, Sonoma, etc). 28,000 cases were produced.
So how does Four Vines compare to the other Old Vine I tasted, Pepperwood’s The Big Green Box (which you can read about here)?
OK, if I ignore the effervescence of the Four Vines, it has a lot more body and complexity than the Big Green Box Old Vine Zin which holds 4 bottles/3 liters. Four Vines will be much more impressive in presentation but I’m not sure if this wine is that much better. Just being honest here, and again, maybe this is a bad bottle.
Or it could be that The Big Green Box is surprisingly good! It looks like basically it’s the same wine which retails for $9 a bottle in the bottle and $20 for three bottles if packaged in the box–so you’d almost get a “bottle” for free.
While most of the wine was consumed on the camping trip over Veteran’s Day weekend, I did sample The Big Green Box Old Vine Zin again to write this blog post. Maybe it’s because I didn’t expect much but the wine really held up well, and since the packaging allows it to keep for four weeks, I could have kept it around for awhile. But a friend is having an event at Bell Arts Factory, so I passed it on to her to share. The more people who get a chance to check this wine out the better!
I hope I haven’t alienated the Four Vines folks too much with this post; instead maybe it will motivate them to invite me up there to taste their wines and get to know more about their passion for zinfandel. In the meantime, I think I’ll stick with the Biker which absolutely wowed me!
Next post: the Bianchi and Glaymond zinfandels I enjoyed for Global #Zinfandel Day with a rack of lamb!