Since August 1994, the last time most people tasted the 1993 Zinfandel, the wine has developed nicely. It has shed some of its “baby fat” (bubble-gummy fruitiness) and gained a very nice cedar note to support its beautiful raspberry-cherry perfume. In the mouth, the wine has become a seamless, multi-layered feast. At our barrel tasting last August, I thought the wine would be bottled sometime in December. When December arrived, the wine was not yet perfectly ready to bottle, so I waited until it was ready in mid-February (contrary to what a growing number of winemakers seem to be practicing, one cannot substitute extra bottle ageing for a lack of barrel ageing). Until wines begin reading calendars, winemakers should read wines.
Bottling the wine so close to the promised release date could have left me showing off a pretty bottle-sick wine, if the wine “chose to close up.” As it turned out, the wine has tasted great ever since bottling day (so much for my worries). Restauranteurs who taste the wine can not believe it was recently bottled because it is so expressive right now. Based on the feedback I have had from “the trade,” this will probably be our best received effort to date. I may have to take the phone off the hook when reviews of this wine are printed. For example, last week the Vintners Club in San Francisco voted our 1993 Zinfandel first-place by a huge margin in a blind-tasting of 12 wines. Beauty contests aside, I too, am excited about this wine, and my respect for this vineyard continues to increase.
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