This was a Rossbott tasting. I made a last minute decision to go when I saw there'd be 4 old Ridge Zins in the line-up, including one from Shenandoah. I've been very impressed by a couple of their old Zins from the Sierra Foothills.
11 people, 8 wines. We tasted blind and individually ranked them. The rankings are compiled and tallied, yielding a group score, ranking and a spread. The score is 1 point for each 1st place vote, 2 for 2nd and so on down to 8 for 8th, so the lower the score the better. The spread shows the number of votes for the following rankings: 1st/2nd/3rd/last.
A) Nose - pungeant, mature, biting, smoky, ashy, delicately sweet, carmelized, cinnamon, redwood, candied orange zest, breakfast tea.
Biting, tobacco, kirsh, peppermint and spearmint, slightly bitter chalky finish. 80 pts
My #2, group #1 3/4/2/0 (26)
Ridge '80 Geyserville (Sonoma Valley)
100% Zinfandel, 14.6% alc.
B) Nose - salty, tawny cherry, green olove, tamarind, smooth, Christmas spice, Pfeffernusse.
Sour, flat, ashy, dusty, dark fruit, Scotch. 79 pts
My #3, group #6 0/2/2/2 (54)
Sarah's Vineyard '80 Zinfandel Lime Kiln Vyd. (Cienga Valley)
C) Nose - musty - corked? Deep, darker fruit, less mature, black olive.
Nice tobacco, musty, tart cherry. 60 pts
My #8, group #8 0/0/2/2 (60)
Joseph Swan '80 Zinfandel (Sonoma County)
A couple people strongly disagreed this was corked. The same two who ranked it 3rd.
D) Nose - high-toned, plum pudding, touch of tamarind, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint tea, chamomile.
Chamomile and breakfast teas, dry, orange zest, touch of heat, dusty bitter finish. 73 pts
My #4, group #4 1/1/3/2 (51)
Ridge '80 Zinfandel Glen Ellen (Sonoma Mountain)
100% Zinfandel, 16.0% alc.
E) Nose - smoky Shenandoah fruit, delicate sweetness, chamomile.
Bitter, astringent, tart, woody. 68 pts
My #7, group #3 1/1/1/1 (47)
Ridge '80 Esola Vyd. (Shenandoah Valley)
95% Zinfandel, 5% Petie Sirah. 13.9% alc.
F) Nose - creamy mint, vanillin, shy red fruit, slight hint of olive, ashy, Aussie Tokay - tawny orange character.
Sweetish orange and tawny notes, tea, tart, cedary redwood. 84 pts
My #1, group #2 3/2/0/1 (47)
Sarah's Vineyard '80 Zinfandel "Les Vignerons Vignoble" (Sonoma County)
G) Nose - deep, dark, peppery tobacco, hint of outhouse, ammonia, plastic.
Bitter bretty tobacco, astingent, bitters, hint of band-aid. 72 pts
My #5, group #7 1/0/1/2 (57)
Clos du Val '76 Zinfandel (Napa Valley)
H) Nose - bright, smoky/ashy, farty, dark, dusty, hint of plastic.
Smooth, non-descript, outhouse, chalky/dusty tannin. 71 pts
My $6, group #5 2/1/0/1 (52)
Ridge '80 Langtry Road Claret (Spring Mountain District)
57% Zinfandel, 33% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane. 13.4% alc.
Amazing aromatics on these wines, so varied and exciting. No two were close. Too bad only two were pleasant to drink. I'm glad I nailed the Shenandoah. None of the others were obvious, as their various prominent aromatics had nothing to do with the sites.
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