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Zen of Zin Old Vines Zinfandel 2008 and 2009

Sure it was marginally tacky of me to pick up a bottle just because it’s named Zen of Zin. But I thought it was cute and quirky enough to be funny.  The back label instructed me to “Share Wisdom. And Laughter. Always Laughter.” So I was smitten. Joel Peterson, the founder and winemaker at Ravenswood Winery is the man behind Zen of Zin. He strives to make wines that are elemental and taste good. While he has a successful line of artisanal wines, his budget friendly wines are exceedingly popular and have established him as a Zinfandel specialist. In fact, his skills are so well recognized that he’s inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in Napa Valley.
On opening the bottle a hot alcohol smell was prevalent, so I let the air get at it for about 30 minutes in my glass. This was a smart decision, since the alcohol scent seemed to have evaporated off and was replaced by mellow blackberry and butterscotch aromas. Instantly there was a little bite, but it was quickly followed by big mixed berry flavours, particularly cherry and blueberry. Because of that initial bite, I was bracing for a hot finish, however the exact opposite occurred. The super short finish immediately dissolved into a lush, soft roundness that left an aftertaste of black cherries in my mouth. It was almost as if you began with the finish and closed with the fruity start. Rather then unpleasant, it was entertaining. [The back label did encourage me to laugh….] Every sip was an interesting balance of flavours that highlighted each grape varietal in the blend. This is a fantastic, easy drinking, budget friendly wine that will vanish from your glass much faster then you think.
Blend of old vines Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Carignan
Blended and Bottled by Ravenswood
13.5% alcohol

update 4.17.12:

Zen of Zin Old Vines Zinfandel 2009

Perhaps even more easy drinking than the 2008 vintage, the finish lengthened a bit and rather than traces of hot alcohol bite there was some lingering warm spice.

Enjoy now thru 2014

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