2001 Renwood Old Vines Zinfandel (Amador County)

More song and philosophy than wine here lately, but I'll try to put out some quick reviews of outstanding wines I drank in 2012 and more recently.  I visited New Orleans in October (I think) of the year before Katrina, to give a talk at Tulane, and was served the 2001 Renwood Old Vines Zinfandel at the fabulous Lilette.  I was eating more meat then... it went great with a slow-cooked pork belly dish, really cutting through the fatty intensity which in turn helped tame the wine's tannins.  So I bought a case, at something like $10 or $12 a bottle, when I got back to New Mexico.  As I recall, the first bottle was quite close to the experience at Lilette, but then it seemed to go through a closed period, or maybe I just got some ho-hum bottles...so that I was thinking maybe this was just a decent wine to bring to barbeques and such where a really good wine might get lost.  A recently opened (December 2012) bottle was really excellent, though:  loads of very typical Amador County (it's in California's Sierra Foothills) flavors, especially tobacco which is very characteristic, a bit of chocolate, blackcurrant... maybe cherry and hints of coffee... whatever.  Strong and tasty.  Although it had some silkiness, and plenty of sediment had dropped, this was not the most elegant, velvety wine around...it has something of a late harvest, high-alcohol style, but enough flavor to handle it.  Almost reminiscent of a port.  It handles being consumed over several days with refrigeration inbetween, which is usual for me, quite well, although it does become more port-like over time.  Luckily, I have more than half the case left.  But I want to try aging this wine again with a newer vintage.  Really good flavors seem to have developed with aging.  I've always liked the tobacco and chocolate cherry flavors of Amador reds (I've tasted it in some Cabernets too), so I urge folks to check 'em out.

2 thoughts on “2001 Renwood Old Vines Zinfandel (Amador County)

  1. So this is a 2001 that you tried in 2012? And if I understand right it was still in good form? Why I ask is that I have purchased this 2001 Renwood Old Vine Zin but in a six liter Imperial (8 bottles in one big bottle) and I hope it is still good.

  2. Todd, yes, it's a 2001 that I drank in 2012. It was stored in a basement, around 60-68 degrees F over the year, 35-50% humidity. What kind of shape the wine in your giant bottle will be in depends, of course, on how it's been stored, but it's generally thought that under the same conditions, a large bottle will develop more slowly. You probably already know that. But I suspect that if your bottle was stored reasonably well, it is still good. It might even last another 3-5 years or more. My sense is that you want some of the tannins to be dropping, or have already dropped, as sediment, if there's any way to tell if that's happened that could help decide when to drink it up. If you want to post another comment after you've tried it, whenever that is, that'd be cool; I'd be interested in hearing how such a big bottle developed.

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