Over the past couple of decades, I have been ‘monitoring’ the development of our Old and Mature Vine Zinfandel. What I see again and again is that the slightly leaner, ‘skinnier’ vintages are usually the ones that go best with food and go on to age and develop most gracefully: 1992, 1994, 2001, 2005 are all good examples of this. I just shared a bottle of the 1991 (our first vintage) with a colleague. Its freshness blew his mind and made me smile. Experiences like this have been guiding me to lean a tiny bit more on the earlier side of my preferred ‘harvest window.’ [My dad has been lobbying for this all along, by the way]. What I am seeing from this modest restraint is nice freshness of fruit flavors (more of the red raspberry and cherry notes) without too much syrupy, jammy character that could overshadow the fruit nuances. We want to showcase a nice balance of the varietal elements that are special to Zinfandel. Sometimes, the acidity/tannin angular side of the wine appears prominent when the wines are only a few months old. But things come into focus with time, especially during the last half of barrel aging. Those of you who come to the barrel tastings each year have seen this for yourselves.
I’m still only talking about an ever so slight shift based on retrospection. The wines are still in the mid–14% alcohol range, which is where our Zinfandels seem to want to exist. There is red, black, and blue fruit, fresh loam, nuances of roasted grains, mouth–watering acidity and good flavor persistence. 2012 is a really nice vintage and in reasonably good supply — for now.