Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Old Zinfandel Tasted April 2013

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 David Bruce Zinfandel Mendocino (1981)
Comments: Old and dusty on the nose; not a lot of fruit left here. Spicy with a caramel base, some black pepper, and a hint of black fruit. Smooth with a hint of sweetness on entry and a nice touch of spicy raspberry fruit on the palate. High acid and smoothly textured though not much fruit left and dusty, mineral flavors on the modest finish. Drinkable and pleasant though shadow of what it must have once been. 78pts
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2 Preston of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Estate Bottled (1981)
Comments: Vegetal on the nose with rich beetroot aromas that are a touch musty. This shows a little sweetness with mint and sassafras accents. Round on entry then turning lean on the palate with some faint cherry fruit, a bit of old wood, and a hint of green anise seed. There’s still some tannin here, with some coffee overtones on the palate that shows fading richness but this is barely drinkable. 69pts
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3 Fetzer Zinfandel California Ricetti (1982)
Comments: Smoky on the nose with a nice base of black fruit, spicy and a touch of truffle, peppery with a bit of oak still obvious. Smooth and polished in the mouth with a nice core of fading red fruit framed with wood spice and sweet licorice tones. A bit of vanilla and some noticeable astringent tannins still linger on the palate which is followed by a brief pop of lovely black cherry fruit on the moderately long finish . Still intact, and sweetly fruited, if not terribly varietal. 85pts
Previously available for $1.00
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4 Fetzer Zinfandel California Ricetti (1983)
Comments: Not particularly aromatic at first though a little spicy and oaky. A bit of air lends this focus and brings out lots of smoke and briar pipe aromas. Smooth with richness still buffering the tannins and acids, which are significant. Lots of raspberry fruit and tobacco early on the palate is followed by a clean, fresh and bracing finish. This is holding together nicely, showing some peppery spice, a cast of red fruit, and a light oak spice, whiskey barrel tone on the fairly long acid driven finish. 87pts
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5 Haywood Zinfandel Sonoma Valley (1983)
Comments: Smoky, nutty and still oaky on the nose with lots of wild herbs, a mineral base and spicy almost currant fruit. Almost soft on entry with nicely integrated acidity this offers up simple, burnished wild raspberry fruit with a hint of leafy spicy. At 30 years of age this is still a tough wine, very structured and rugged, and long lived with a little cough lozenge note on the rather long finish. This really needs some food. 86pts
Previously available for $8.00
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6 Haywood Zinfandel Sonoma Valley (1985)
Comments: Rather complex if unusual and very spicy on the nose with subtle mint and orange peel accents over lots of earthy and frankly dirty aromatics. orange, earth. This has a lovely texture on entry, rich and rugged showing off raspberry fruit framed with tobacco and lots of earthy nuance with spicy red fruit, lifted by volatility, that plumps on the backend and drives through the moderately long acid driven finish that frays and falls apart turning too volatile. With air this implodes, turning into a volatile mess. 74pts for the first sip, 65pts thereafter.
Previously available for $9.00
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7 Mazzocco Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley (1990)
Comments: Completely shot on the nose, caramel, beef extract, sweet. Sweet, mouthfilling, acidified, disjointed, , over extracted, tannic, horrible. I enjoyed this wine on release. 50pts
Previously available for $81.00
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8 Schuetz Oles Zinfandel Napa Valley Korte Ranch (1991)
Comments: Sweet, vanilla, smoke, tobacco, leather, a little cocoa complex and savory with notes of Worcestershire sauce, candied red fruit with lots of spice and orange rind on this spicy and opulent nose. Bright and juicy in the mouth, lots of fruit here with lovely bramble spice notes, soft, slightly creamy tannins, bright acids, nice cut, though this is a short and a little hot. Powerful, ripe and quite savory this gains length on the finish but it is surprisingly hot. 83pts
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9 Topolos Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Rossi Ranch (1992)
Comments: Precise on the nose with smoky, grilled meat aromas that are deep with a rustic, savory edge, featuring lovely herbal, sage elements and notes of American oak. This smells like zin. Bright acids on entry, a touch unripe with green edges early on the palate, but then there’s lovely raspberry fruit framed by creamy oak, a little vanilla and lots of briary and green herb notes. This still has some power to it and fine length with an earthy, spicy finish. A powerful yet elegant wine thats a touch rustic but has good fruit with an appealing herbal sweetness. 87pts
Previously available for $20.00
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10 Ridge Pagani (1993)
Comments: A wow wine in this company. Intense and perfumed on the nose still showing hints of American, oak with dill accents to the leathery, black fruited nose that shows some light spice notes topped with lovely red cherry fruit and hints of grilled meat. Everything comes together gorgeously, adding in stewy plums and spice notes with air. Sweet on entry, then meaty with intense strawberry, spiced raspberry and American oak flavors. While it does show a touch of heat on the finish, this comes with lots of black berry and almost black currant fruit. Sweetly fruited on entry, this shows excellent integration with compelling complexity and lovely spice on the finish. Finish is a touch short at first, though there is a fine echo to the fruit. 92pts
Previously available for $39.00
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11 Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vines Zinfandel Sonoma County (1994)
Comments: Lots of vanilla still on the nose along with chunky plummy fruit in a gently spicy, earthy way that morphs into a noticeably rubbery aroma. Plenty of acid and a little burnt fruit quality. Short, acidic and a bit lean on the palate, which does show some cherry fruit, dries out on the finish. A bit short, a bit of rare beef on the nose, disjointed and not very pleasant. Drying, dieing and chunky 65pts
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  • 1519040kjt42 Such an interesting article. Especially for a 30 year drinker of California Zin. Thanks

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