Random Musings

Pick My Next Bottle – 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel

The October Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel from three of the very best Zinfandel producers in the state of California. 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. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

2009 was a strong vintage for Zinfandel in both the Sonoma Valley and Paso Robles. All three vineyards for the wines featured below date back to the early 1900’s. As I like to say…history in a wine glass.

The Contenders:

    • 2009 Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel – Composed of 89% Zinfandel and 11% mixed blacks, the dense purple-hued 2009 Zinfandel Montafi Ranch (a vineyard planted in 1926) is phenomenal. Dark, jammy black raspberry notes intermixed with sweet black cherries, blackberries, licorice, charcoal and underbrush are present in this complex, full-bodied, massive yet impressively well-balanced offering. It will drink exceptionally well for 7-8 years. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 2009 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel – The 2009 Lytton Springs is the biggest and most structured of these 2009 Zinfandel-based reds, largely owing to the earthier soils and the presence 23% Petite Sirah. Black fruit, plums, tar, licorice and smoke are some of the notes that flow from this generous, inviting red. The Lytton Springs is fairly structured, and can definitely benefit from another year or two (perhaps more) in bottle. The blend is 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2029. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 2009 Turley Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel – The broad, structured, mineral-dominated, deep plum/purple-colored 2009 Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard is made from head-trained old vines planted in pure limestone. It possesses copious notes of pepper, flowers, black cherries, black currants and a hint of chalk. With more structure and tannin than most of its siblings, it will benefit from 6-12 months of bottle age, and should keep for 5-6 years. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel should I open?

  • 2009 Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel (45%, 21 Votes)
  • 2009 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel (32%, 15 Votes)
  • 2009 Turley Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel (23%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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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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8 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel

  1. As usual I voted for the Carlisle for selfish reasons…I know Ridge Lytton and Turley Pesenti very well, but have never had a wine from Carlisle. Hope to try some very soon…

  2. Nice selection for “Pick My Next Bottle.” Of the three wines, Carlisle is probably drinking the best at the moment, although I’m sure all three wines are open and ready to enjoy. I’m not an expert on Zinfandel but I believe that Carlisle is more approachable earlier than either Ridge or Turley. Thus, my pick is the 2009 Carlisle Montafi Ranch. However, I’m most curious about the 2009 Turley Pesenti Vineyard (so, I’m secretly hoping the Turley wins).

  3. What a lineup Tom! While I dearly love Carlisle wines and the description sounds great. I also a HUGE Turley fan (wine genius), I voted for the Ridge for 2 reasons; 1. Ridge is one of my favorite producers and Lytton Springs Zinfandel is right there on top 2. The blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane is EXACTLY in my wheelhouse for red profiles I enjoy the most. Can’t wait for the results!

  4. This really was a tough choice–all stellar options. I’ve drank Turley Pesenti Vineyard, although not the 2009. I’ve also had Ridge’s Lytton Springs but again, not the 2009 although I bid aggressively for it via ZAP auction–supposed to be an excellent vintage. In the end I went with Carlisle as I discovered I actually have this vintage and vineyard pending delivery from Wine bid and I’d love to hear about it before I drink it.

  5. I’ve sort of fallen out of love with Zin over the past decade or so as alcohol levels climbed towards the ridiculous, but I still have a soft spot for them. Ridge was always one of my faves and though I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the balance that the couple of Turley’s I’ve had the pleasure of trying displayed, I’m afraid I’m hopelessly old school so Ridge gets my vote. Cheers!

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