Subscribe to Blog via RSS
Search for Events
Recent Blog Articles
- New Tasting Rooms & a Grand Opening in Lodi
- Cinsault Good
- How You Can Contribute to Earthquake Relief in Napa
- On a Vertical Tasting of Grgich-Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville Selection
- A Tale of Two Conferences
- Cats and Dogs Blogging Together
- Getting the Wine Bloggers Conference We Deserve
- New White Wines and Rosés from Rutherford's Day in the Dust
- Examining 2011 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
- 6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers
- Lodi Zinfandel Goes Native
- Study: Researchers Discover New Taste
- He Wasn't Talking To You, Mr. Outrage
- 16 North Coast Rhones to Try and a Toothsome #WineChat
- How Many Wines do Critics Taste per Day?
- Howell Mountain Spring Tasting Wrap Up
- Of Tasting Notes and Photographs
- Rhone Rangers Tastings and Rhone-Variety Wines Tasted
- How Critics Taste Wines - Glassware
- More Thoughts on Blind vs. Non-Blind Tasting
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado
- 2012 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
NorCal Wine Blog
Tasting Library Wines at Joseph Swan Vineyards
- Winery Profiles
- Written by Fred Swan
- Monday, 09 November 2009 01:39
Today, I headed up to Joseph Swan Vineyards in Russian River Valley. They were celebrating their 40th anniversary as a bonded winery by pouring library wines.
Above, winemaker Rod Berglund holds the oldest wine I was able to try. It's a 1972 "Lot 2" Zinfandel. It turned out to be one of the best aged red table wines I've ever had... of any variety. It was also still very fresh. I'm sure it could easily go another fifteen years. Sadly, there aren't many bottles left. Rod's eyes bugged out when he saw it had been opened.
This particular wine showed its age in its garnet color and broad pale rim. However, the intensity of the color was still good and there were younger wines poured that had gone past garnet to orange or brown. On the nose, there were moderately intense aromas of raspberry and cherry leather with accents of cigar box, rose petal, pencil shavings and dried herb. It showed great balance of acidity and tannins and an astonishing amount of fruit for its age. It's an epic wine. If somehow have some in your cellar, send me your address...
Other wines tasted:
1994 Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir - Garnet/orange color with cedar, stewed cherry, tart fresh cherry, dried herb, great balance of acidity and tannins, very good to outstanding.
2005 Mancini Ranch Zinfandel - bright ruby with a big raspberry nose that reminded me of Chambord. Very good.
1993 Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir - Medium garnet/orange color with dried herb, light sweet cherry and cigar box on the nose and sweet fruit on the palate. Slightly better than the '94. Outstanding.
1991 "1906" Zinfandel - Apparently, some folks referred to this one as "red road tar" when it was young. Nearly twenty years later this wine based on vines planted in 1906 still has a nose dominated by tar. You might like it. Most people have a hard time with it. If you can smell past the tar, you get some prune and then a bunch of black cherry on the palate. I thought it was interesting. You might agree or you might hate it.
1991 Porter-Bass Vineyard Zinfandel - This wine was a slightly cloudy orange-brown, which caused me a bit of concern. However, it had very attractive raspberry and strawberry flavors and did not smell or taste flawed in any way. It had impressive body and intensity of flavor and a good balance of acidity and tannins. It's a very good wine.
1988 Sonoma Coast Frati Ranch Zinfandel - This wine's age was shown by its ruby/garnet core and garnet/orange rim. Cherry leather and cigar box on the nose also indicated its development. The palate remains fresh though with tart raspberry, vanilla and cedar. It's a good to very good wine with some room to develop further.
1999 Laguna Ridge Zinfandel - This wine, much younger than most of others is in an awkward phase. It's got bright fruit but is a bit disjointed and definitely in the midst of a transition from youthful enthusiasm to the complexity of age. It's a good wine at the moment, but I'd suggest leaving it alone for a couple of years. It might be quite a bit better once it has found itself.
Joseph Swan Vineyards is located on Trenton Road north of Forestville. Frankly, an address won't help you much. The best way to find it is to take River Road west from Hwy. 101. Make a left on Trenton Road when you see small signs for the winery and then continue to follow the signs. The rustic tasting room always has plenty of library wines on sale along with the current releases. Their "Joe's Drinking Buddies" wine club is flexible and a good bet if you like your wines balanced, terroir driven and with "old school" alcohol (eg. less than 14%).
Note: Despite sharing the name Swan, I am not related in any way to Joseph Swan or the winery. (Drat.)
This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more.
Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook.
Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.