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Old Vines on My Mind:  Rabbit Ridge OVZ

OvzpasobigI mainly use a 35 bottle wine refrigerator with dual temperature control for reds and whites to store my wine at home.

I’m longing for a bigger house that will afford me the wine cellar in the basement.

In the meantime, I keep my inventory to about 35 - 50 bottles.  Overflow is in the drinkable queue upstairs and some of the other nostalgic bottles are kept in my basement.  Since I have a penchant for stopping at every local winery within 5 miles of my travels, I have a handful of wines that are more ornamental then drinkable sitting in the basement.  Concord Creme wine from Lonz winery in Put-in-Bay, Ohio anyone?

This past weekend, as luck would have it, however, I found a 1999 Rabbit Ridge Old Vines Zinfandel.  Ah, yes.  I remember this one.  I bought two bottles when in Sonoma several years back.  I drank one, and, well, I have one left.  The small marking on the corner of the back label indicated that I paid $32 for it—a tip I picked up from a buddy that remarked, "Mark the price inconspicuously.  When you drink it in a couple of years you’ll want to remember how much you paid for it."  Right he was.

What a bonus because I had completely forgotten about this wine.

From the Rabbit Ridge Web Site:

Our legendary Rabbit Ridge Old Vine Zinfandel, or "O.V.Z." is from our finest vineyards on the west side of Paso Robles, California.   To live up to its name, Zinfandel from vines over sixty years old was blended with judicious additions of Primitivo and a touch of Petite Sirah.   This 2003 O.V.Z. is the first successor to our 1999 O.V.Z.   Less than one ton of grapes were picked for our O.V.Z., creating a rich, concentrated, jammy reserve Zinfandel blend.   Enjoy lush flavors of strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, and rose petals.   Only 1440 cases produced.

I cracked it open.

Just as I had remembered it.  This is a really fantastic wine.  This bottle was a touch cloudy, for some reason.  I chilled it down and then it warmed up on the kitchen counter so that may have affected it, but the cloudiness didn’t effect the wine in an adverse way.

This wine finishes long and is incredibly mouth filling—very concentrated and almost like drinking  a cup of raspberry coulis.  I didn’t pick up on the rose petals, but to  me this RR OVZ demonstrates a  subtle backbone of minerality that I find very appealing in some Zins.  It has that je ne se quois that is mystifying, but very satisfying.

The ‘99 wasn’t distributed, sold only at the winery and perhaps in the Dry Creek area.  At the time, RR was on its run-up in the market and not widely distributed and was in the midst of a bunch of zoning legal battles because they were producing more then they were permitted for.  But, if you run into the ‘03, I can definitely recommend it based on the delicious ‘99.



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