Villa Mt. Eden Zinfandel, California, 1997, $9 VG- ``Old Vines''
Yum. Fruity and hot on the alcohol (15%), this was a pleasant quaff. Not complicated, but rich and spicy. A fine complement to a meal [2/20].
Gallo of Sonoma Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 1998, $8 G+
Sound, but a bit light on the fruit [2/22].
De Loach Zinfandel, California, 1998, $7.25/glass G+
Light, sweet, undistinguished [2/23].
Hooper's Vintage Port, Portugal, 1984, $12 G+
Sound, with pleasant fruit and typical port spice and heat, but somewhat light in color and flavor. Hard to complain at this price, though [2/23].
Wild Horse Zinfandel, Paso Robles, 1997, $12 G+
Not super rich or flavorful, so it comes across a little acidic, almost citrus. A bit of dirt on the nose and finish gives it some dimension [2/25].
Atlas Peak Sangiovese, Napa, 1997, $11 VG-
Bright, fruity, uncomplex [2/28].
Piedras Syrah, South Coast, 1998, $14 VG-
Dark varietal fruit, earth, tobacco, and a touch of sweetness. A score for Temecula [3/2].
Bott Freres Gewurztraminer, Alsace, Reserve Personelle, 1998, $18 VG+
Silky and sweet, with Sauterne tones with some tar on the finish. Lovely Sauterne nose [3/2].
Trimbach Gewurztraminer, Alsace, 1998, $14 VG
Sweet, focussed Gewurz fruit, silky texture [3/2].
Dow's Tawny Port, Portugal, 10 year, $20 VG
Very sound, quite pleasant, but nothing distinguishing [3/2].
Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel, California, 1999, $9 G+
Very interesting. Bright fruit, oak, spice, and herbs, but rather unformed at this stage [3/6].
Buena Vista Zinfandel, California, 1999, $6 G+
Not all G+'s are created equal. This is darned good. Nice Zin fruit, albeit light and formulaic [3/13].
Cline Syrah, California, 1999, $8 VG-
This is up for value of the year. Delicious, pure berry flavors, a bit of earth and other mysterious things. Lovely [3/15].
Buena Vista Zinfandel, California, 1998, $6 G
No match for the 1999, this is lighter and greener [3/20].
Caparone Sangiovese, Paso Robles, 1998, $8 Fair-
This is the worst wine I've had in a long time. Little fruit and tons of vanilla oak, perhaps artificially flavored [3/22].
Ridge Zinfandel, Sonoma Station, 1998, $15? VG
Hey, in a tough year, go with the blue-chips. This wine is ripe, soft, dark, and mysterious. Everything you look for in a Zin [3/23].
Chateau Souverain Zinfandel, Dry Creek Va., 1997, $10 VG-
Chateau Souverain is one of my favorite wineries, but their Zin's do not top my list. Even now, still possessing significant structure and a touch green and oaky. Certain not an embarrassment [3/24].
La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi CA Sangiovese 1997 $40 (rest.) VG
Quite fine. Rich berry fruit with Sangiovese acidity without being grapey. Definitely some interesting things going on [3/26].
Ravenswood Zinfandel, Amador, 1998, $13 VG
Not their best effort, but 1998 was a tough year. Nice fruit, but a little chewy and tannic on its own. With food, it balances out nicely. I imagine this could improve over time as the tannins soften [4/14].
Spelltich Zinfandel, Shenandoah, 1999, $20 Exc-
Yowza! Now that is wine. Hedonistic, complex, fruity, earthy, o-my-god [4/20].
Beaulieu Zinfandel, Napa, 1999, $10 VG
Bright, tannic berry fruit. Lively [4/25].
Morgan Zinfandel, Napa, 1997, $15 (half bottle, rest.) VG+
This is the most elegant Zin I've ever had, slipping down my throat like a Pinot Noir, but with that forward, lively Zin fruit that I so love [4/27].
Kempton Clark Zinfandel, Cucamonga Valley, Lopez Ranch, 1997, $8 VG
Dark, ripe fruit, approaching pruney, and mysterious. No hint of oak here [4/30].
Cline Zinfandel, California, 1999, $7 VG
Rustic, explosive, young Zinfandel fruit makes for a very compelling quaff. But this is no bright, fruity wine; it possesses a dark, surprisingly dense fruit. As good as it is alone, it is even better with food. Maybe the best wine bargain I've ever experienced [5/17].
Lindemans Shiraz, South Eastern Australia, Bin 50, 1999, $6.50 G+
Nothing remarkable, nothing offensive. Light, but not a lightweight [5/21].
Yalumba Museum Muscat, Australia, NV, $12 (375ml) Exc-
Orange and caramel flavors combine for a suberb after dinner drink. Sophisticated and unique [5/20].