July 1995 Pre-release: The 1994 Zinfandel was made using the same techniques as in past vintages. The fruit is destemmed, not crushed (sounds like a James Bond Martini), with the inclusion of about 15 – 20% whole grape clusters into open top fermenters. I pay particular attention to the flavor of the stems when deciding how many whole clusters to add. These uncrushed grape clusters add a spicy, exotic character to the finished wine. Once again, no filtration is planned for this wine. The 1994 Zinfandel has a raspberry & red cherry aroma, with the usual perfume & delicate oak undertone. In the mouth, the flavors are similar with a hint of Strawberry/rhubarb pie on finish. With a few minutes in the glass, an exotic spiciness due to the whole-cluster proportion arises. I think the wine has excellent balance: the alcohol is under 14% (for once). It has good acidity and just enough tannin to sing with your supper.
April 1996 Release: Since August 1995, this wine has developed similarly to the 1992 vintage. Yet, unlike the 1992, it seemed to call for more time in barrel. Finally, it was bottled on February 14, 1996 ♥. I have enjoyed its balance during barrel ageing. Often, I have found myself relating to this wine on an emotional level, as with Pinot noir. Maybe you will too. Lately, I have found that half a bottle left a day or two (yes, it does happen sometimes–especially when one’s wife is pregnant) really “opens up” and shows off. The same thing occurred with the 1992 Zin also.