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.