Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Montevina Terra d'Oro Zinfandel

Two weeks ago I had a Montevina Barbara that made me want to try their Zinfandel. I picked up a bottle of their Terra d'Oro ("Land of Gold") Zinfandel from a local grocery store over the weekend.

Terra d'Oro is Montevina's reserve line of wines, produced in smaller quantities in only certain years. The winery website says these wines "come form older, low-yielding vines, and spend longer time in barrel and bottle.” There was an interesting article in the Sacramento Bee last week about the use of the term "old vine." The author, Mike Dunne, reported that the term "old vine" may be losing its meaning. A survey of over 200 Zinfandel producers found that "a quarter of them said they use 'old vine' or some variation on their bottles of zinfandel because they are convinced the wines possess a distinctive flavor that can come only from older vines.
However, the term is showing up even on bottles of Merlot! Some argue that there is no difference in flavor from grapes produced by old vines as opposed to younger.

Montevina's Terra d'Oro may be doing its part to restore the meaning of "old vine." The wine had intense flavors without being a fruit bomb. When I wrote about the Klinker Brick Zinfandel, I warned that some wouldn't like it because of how fruit-forward it was. The Montevina delivers all the spiciness and pepper without excessive jamminess. I like both wine styles, but can appreciate the Montevina for a more subtle delivery of my favorite grape.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Dark red

Aroma: Spicy zinfandel nose, green pepper?

Taste: Intense zinfandel spiciness without any sweetness

Finish: Light

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We used to regularly buy Montevina Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2008 by the case. It was one of our favorite dinner wines. Recently, however, it suddenly went sour. The bottles are loaded with sediment, and are thus undrinkable. We had to quit buying it. Has this happened to bottles in California, or was it a poor storage issue at our local liquor store (it's been very hot the last few summers)? Just wondering. I hate to see a great wine go bad. Thanks!

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