Old Vines Can Be Good!

Old Vine Zin Tasting

In last weeks post I talked about aging wine. This week I thought I would mention aging vines, as in ‘Old Vine’ wines. In a recent Zinfandel Tasting (not as in ‘white’ or blush, but red wine), twelve wines were presented to the group. I feel after four wines, the rest become muddled, and in this case the better ones were served last. But if your palate can take heavy wines such as these, then pair them with a good steak.

What does ‘Old Vine’ mean?

THE TERM “old vines” appears on many wine labels, most often on California zinfandel’s and Australian shiraz and grenache. In France the term is “vieilles vignes,” in Italian it’s “vigna vecchia,” and in Spain you’ll see “viñas viejas.” It seems to be a mark of quality, but is it? What exactly qualifies a vine as old, and what impact, if any, does age have on flavor?

Like the word reserve, the use of old vines on a wine label is unregulated. But unlike reserve, which has been rendered meaningless by greedy marketers, “old vines” is still treated with respect. Winemakers use it to say something important about the vineyard from which the wine was produced. It’s old! And that’s good!

Our favorite ‘Old Vine’ served at this tasting- too many to say. Like I said it became muddled after the fourth wine. Keep a wine tasting simple, so the students and guest are not overwhelmed. I however feel Zin’s are over looked, and outside my taste for the favorite Pinot Noir varietal, I would open up a good California Wilson Zin (many have almost 16 % alcohol) in a heartbeat!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

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