Monday, December 30, 2013

**** Chez Ray Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel (w/stems), 2006



Original Review, June, 2008: These are tasting notes from the Chez Ray Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel (w/stems), 2006, which was first mentioned in an earlier post. Consider this a work in progress, as this is a very early time to sample 2006 reds. This vintage, however, was made with a cool fermentation; this made for a light, early-drinking wine.

What characterized this particular batch of Chez Ray was that it was fermented fully on its stems, adding a brambly overtone to the early wine. So let's see what it has turned in to...

In the glass, medium magenta with light purple tones at the edges. On the nose, good, deep fruit with sturdy oak overlay. Just a bit smoky.

On the palate, the wine touches across the palate, with balanced fruit, touch of charcoal oak, light sweet acids. Finish is generally fast, and overall impression is simple but structured and pleasant. Three stars out of five on the Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for pleasant friendliness.

After a full day's decanting: even better, rounder, nice smoky undertones.
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Updated Review, six months later, January, 2009: Consistent color and aroma notes. Aroma is outstanding. Sweet touch on the palate, with same mild charcoal overlay. Consistent rating. Fine to continue aging another year or two.
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Updated Review, another year later, December, 2010, now about four years from vintage date (this is a batch made without stems):  Pure magenta in the glass.  Thick, murky, stewed purple fruit on the nose.   Very rich fruit on the palate, bringing overripe blackberries first to mind.  From there, a little bit of huskiness comes in from the tannins, along with a minor acid lift.  Different, thicker experience than a year earlier (with the undestemmed version).   Batch with stems:  this one is much more consistent with the descriptions above.  Nice balance in the aroma, and the palate brings an excellent combination of sweet and smoky.
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Updated review, almost another year later, November, 2011:  Medium magenta.  Medium fruit with some charcoal on the nose.  Gentle, sweet, light-handed fruit comes on at first. Soft red berries.  It picks up a sleek minerality after a few seconds, gliding the fruit and lightly darkened oak across your tongue.  Clean, perky finish, though not acidic.  Reaches four stars now five years from vintage date. 
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Updated review, two more years later, December, 2013:  Seems a bit lighter and more acidic than perceived two years ago, but still a bright,light, friendly sip.    Light and oaky red.

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