Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Pick My Next Bottle – Great Zinfandel for a Great Cause

Great Zinfandels for a Great Cause

The October installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Zinfandel from a few of my very favorite producers. Ridge, Turley and Williams Selyem are without a doubt in the very upper echelon of California Zinfandel producers. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar.

This month has an extra special focus: My wife Lisa is traveling to San Diego next month to participate in the Komen 3-Day walk, and we’re hosting a Zinfandel wine tasting this weekend to wrap up her fundraising efforts. Read more about Lisa and her passion for women’s health issues (and pink ribbon tattoos) on her blog, My Pink Ink. You can also support her San Diego adventure by making a donation to the 3-Day!

The winning bottle will be featured at the tasting.

The Contenders

  • 2004 Turley Hayne Vineyard – With 16.3% alcohol, the 2004 Zinfandel Hayne Vineyard is one of Turley’s two or three most prodigious Zinfandels. A dense purple color is accompanied by aromas of white flowers, black raspberries, blackberries, cassis, melted licorice, and pepper. Huge, rich, and concentrated, it is a testament to the greatness of Zinfandel from a vineyard planted by Italian immigrants in 1904. It should drink well for at least a decade. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard – Deep ruby. Crushed black fruits, minerals and exotic citrus zest on the nose. Sweeter and more pliant than the Bacigalupi, with riper acids. But this has terrific density and superb fruit, and finishes with a powerful tannic spine. 94 points from Steve Tanzer.
  • 2001 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs (in magnum) – The 2001 Lytton Springs Proprietary Red, a blend of 76% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, and 7% Carignan (14.7% alcohol) is superb. I was knocked out by its multiple dimensions and combination of jammy briery raspberry and currant fruit intermingled with licorice, spice, and pepper. Its dense purple color is accompanied by a rich, full-bodied palate presentation, and a long, seamless finish. Enjoy this outrageously delicious Zinfandel over the next 5-6 years. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Zinfandel should we open at the wine tasting?

  • 2001 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs (in magnum) (56%, 19 Votes)
  • 2004 Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard (24%, 8 Votes)
  • 2004 Turley Hayne Vineyard (21%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the November installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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13 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – Great Zinfandel for a Great Cause

  1. I voted for the Ridge because I just had that same wine a few months ago and would love to hear your thoughts. I drank it with the 97 Geyserville (which was just spectacular).

  2. The 2004 Williams Selyem Forchini Vineyard is my pick for “Pick My Next Bottle” because I think it will be drinking better right now than the other two choices. I believe that Williams Selyem has a tendency to make their wines more approachable young. In contrast, Paul Draper makes Ridge wines in a style that typically requires long aging. So, in my view, the 2001 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs may get better with more aging, especially in the magnum format. Even though the Selyem is from 04, I think it’ll be drinking better than the 01 Ridge. Moreover, I believe Turley also builds their wines for aging, so for my palate I would open the 04 Selyem before the 04 Turley (and I’d open the 04 Turley before the 01 Ridge).

  3. I voted for the Ridge. 2001 is wedding anniversary for me so it’s a bit of a sentimental favorite from the start. But I’ve also had a couple of Ridge Zins pretty recently in that neighborhood vintage wise and they were really singing. I’m sure it could age much longer but I bet it will be delicious now and still have a lot of punch. Like Lisa’s comment as well about their being more to go around! Both the WS and the Turley should have plenty of time yet.

  4. Also forgot to mention that I just a couple of weeks ago had a 2001 Williams Selyem Zin — a “Russian River Valley” designate I didn’t previously know they had ever made — that was “Wow!” good, so I’m confident you can let that Forchini sit longer.

  5. Tom, I opened a mag of the 01 Lytton Springs at Thanksgiving 2011. The wine was spectacular, with a very slight bricking at the rim, heady aromas of earth and spices, and a mature, full bodied mouthfeel that was just killer. I don’t have formal tasting notes, but this bottle was the wine of the meal by far. 94-95 points, it will drink well for at least another 5 years in my opinion, especially from large format.

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