Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Zinfandel Flight Anchors Family Dinner

Ridge Vertical and 1990 Vintage Horizontal Zinfandels Anchor Family Dinner

With son Alec visiting laying over on a cross country trip, the family gathered for a gala dinner to celebrate his return and his birthday. Son Ryan brought a highly rated Ridge Zinfandel, so I pulled from the cellar two vintage Zins from Alec's birthyear - two Howell Mountain labels from Ridge and Lamborn. This provided a vertical tasting of two Ridge vintages, and a horizontal tasting of two 1990 vintage labels.

Linda prepared her delectable beef tenderloin (shown right) with fried onions, twice baked potatoes, broccoli, and mac-n-cheese for the kids (and some adults (me)). Ryan brought a dinner salad and Erin brought a fruit plate. Before dinner included shrimp cocktail and afterwards we had a chocolate birthday cake and cupcakes.

We visited Lamborn Vineyards high atop Howell Mountain during our Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience  back in 2008. I am not sure where Ridge sourced their Howell Mountain fruit for this label and find it conceivable that both these bottles were from the same source. Even at 27 years of age, they were very similar, almost identical, in condition and profile.

Ironically, the last time I tasted either of these wines, I drank them both together at the same time back in November, 2009.

Tonight, both the 1990 Ridge and Lamborn were garnet colored with a brownish rust hue and a bit of murkiness setting in - the predominant sign of diminution from aging. Both were clearly nearing the end of their drinking window, but were still holding their fruit. There were accents of leather and tobacco leaf but no funkiness that one might expect from wines this age. Setting the clarity and color aside, one might not know how old they were.

Both wines warranted a rating of 86 points. 

Lamborn Family Vineyards Napa Valley Howell Mountain Zinfandel 1990 

My last review of this Lamborn label was back in 2009 when I wrote, "Dark inky color with a tinge of separation on the rim... predominantly earthy, leathery, black bramble fruit accented with black pepper and an edge of creosote."

Ridge California Howell Mountain Zinfandel 1990 

My last review of this wine was also back in 2009 when I wrote "Dark inly color - earthy leathery, black cherry and black berry fruits accented with black pepper and hint of black olive."

Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2013

This recent release got rave reviews with a 95 and 92 point rating from Vinous and Robert Parker. Compared to the subdued aged fruit of the vintage Zins, this was over the top and almost overbearing, more suited to tangy bbq or rich foods than the beef tenderloin. This needs several years to settle and come together.

Bright garnet colored, medium-full bodied, complex, rich concentrated forward black raspberry and blue bramble fruits accented by clove spice, Kirsch, floral, anise and hints of tangy oak (aged fourteen months in American Oak). There is 16% Petite Sirah in the blend and it is apparent in adding breadth and depth complexity and a backbone of a firm but not overbearing tannin finish.

This is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignan and 2% Mataro (Mourvèdre).

This received 95 points from Vinous and 92 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
RM 92 points.

Twice baked potatoes, mac-n-cheese, broccoli.