If you have a wine cellar, chances are there’s not much old California Zinfandel in it. Even many Zin fans aren’t convinced it improves with age, but I don’t think most of them particularly care. For them, Zin is about big, zesty fruit and a distinctive personality. In my opinion, a few Zins benefit from a year or two of rest to smooth out their youthful vigor, but only a handful truly get better after five years or more.
A few months back, I wrote about a Carol Shelton Zin that was built for the cellar, and I’m betting that the Seghesio Old Vine 2008 ($36) will be one, too. The Seghesio family has been growing Zinfandel in Sonoma County for more than 100 years, so they know a thing or two. A blend of grapes from vineyards in Dry Creek and Alexander valleys, the 2008 is a bruiser, offering dense blackberry fruit with notes of sage, olive and white pepper, yet there’s a sense of suppleness and complexity at the core. I gave it 90 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for previous vintages of the Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County Old Vine.
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Zinfandel.