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2007 Sausal Winery Zinfandel Century Vines Alexander Valley Sonoma County

Once grape vines reach a certain age, their yield begins to decrease. The age at which this occurs depends on the variety, as does the degree to which lesser productivity may be seen as a good thing. Generally, lower yield means that the vine puts more focus — delivering more concentration and more flavor — into the grapes it does produce. If you’re looking to make light, cheerfully fruity wine you don’t want old vines. But if your goal is complex and densely-flavored Syrah or Zinfandel, old vines are just the ticket.

As a consumer, it’s hard to know what “old vines” or “ancient vines” means. Old is relative and wineries sometimes use the term loosely. Some start calling their vines old after 25 years or less. Sausal Winery is more explicit. They call their flagship Zinfandel “Century Vines” because the vines from which its grapes come were all planted more than one-hundred years ago. [Soon, Sausal will be able to call the wine “Century-and-a-Half Vines.” There is a survey of the area from 1877 that proves the vines in question were there then. Nobody knows how long prior to that they were planted.]

What matters in the end, though, is the quality of the wine in the bottle. The 2007 Sausal Winery Zinfandel Century Vines is really good. It’s dark ruby in color with aromas of briary dark berry, spicy plum and raspberry leaf that waft your way from the glass. The wine shows excellent balance on the palate between fruit tannins, alcohol, rich flavor and food friendly acidity. Unlike many contemporary Zinfandels, the fruit is not overwhelmed by oak. The primary flavor is rich, juicy black cherry with chocolate accents.

The 2007 Sausal Century Vines Zinfandel isn’t a cocktail wine — thick and sweet and spirity. It’s a traditional Zinfandel, a wine meant to go with a meal. Try it with a medium-rare filet mignon or braised lamb shanks. Drink now through 2016. Highly Recommended.

2007-Sausal-Century-Vines-Zinfandel

2007 Sausal Winery Zinfandel Century Vines Alexander Valley Sonoma County
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2016

Retail Price: $40
Blend: 100% Zinfandel (estate)

Alcohol: 14.7%
Closure: Cork

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.