Sunday, January 1, 2012

Updated Review: **** $$ Ironstone Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2007 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background: Ironstone Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, is a blend of 95% zinfandel with 5% petite sirah, aged for 2007 for 10 months in small oak barrels, and finished at 14.5% alcohol.

Original Tasting and Review: February, 2010:

In the glass: Ironstone Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel shows as medium deep burgundy in the glass, opaque to within 3/4 inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Lodi zinfandel brings a medium, deep black cherry nose to the fore, mixed with just a hint of candy.

On the palate: The first element on the palate is a full, round, well-knitted, back-of-palate deep cherry fruit.  Leads you to contemplate the various elements, as no one element seems to take center stage: ripe red cherry, ripe plum, hint of chocolate, touch of oak, hint of candy cane minus the peppermint. A certain minerality too.

And the wrap-up: The finish is clean and flavorful, poised between solid black cherry flavors and modest tannins and acids.

In summary: Overall, a balanced, and yet full-on experience.  Red fruit with hints of dark overtones.  Just touches four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a nod to its power and complexity.  May move more solidly into four star territory with a bit of air or age too.  Great value.

Wine Enthusiast awarded 88 points, saying, "Lusty and ripe, this big, exuberant Zinfandel brims with black currant, red cherry, plum, chocolate, anise and cedar flavors, leading to a long, spicy finish. It’s an easy wine to drink, but also shows some real complexity.

Following two-day decant under vacuum in partially-filled bottle:  Similar nose, now slightly more red cherry candy than black cherry candy.  On the palate, got a bit sweeter and rounder, but lost some of its more intriguing notes.  I'd say enjoy now, and straight from the bottle. 

Updated review, almost two years later, January, 2012:  Still deep burgundy in the glass, now a hint of brick at the edge.  Deeper cherry candy on the nose.  Deep red cherry remains the primary palate element, surrounded by nice deep layered tones of weathered fruit.  Solid and still well-knit, but misses some of the luxurious tensions that seemed to define this as a younger wine.  Note to self: recommend drinking solid Lodi zins within three years of vintage date. 

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