Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 2005
Family-run Bogle sources this Zinfandel from several adjoining California regions, all of
which are known to produce quality Zin. Lodi is sandwiched between the northern and
southern sections of the state's vast Central Valley, but is cooler that either because of its
altitude and the effect of the Sacramento River estuary; the appellation also benefits from rich
alluvial soil. The Amador County appellation and the Fiddlehead appellation within Amador
qualify under the broader description of “Sierra Foothills.” Zinfandel history in this region
goes back to the nineteenth century, yielding the vines used to make this wine, which are 40
to 80 years old. The wine is aged 10 months in American oak.
The $11 Bogle Zinfandel brings a good deal more to the glass than its price level alone would indicate. It offers excellent, ripe, extracted fruit. On the nose I enjoyed raspberry, black cherry, vanilla and tobacco; a few basic notes nicely presented. Many Zins tend to be high in alcohol, and though the 14.5% level of this wine brings some heat to the nose, it does not disrupt any of the elements on the palate.
The wine is dry, with mid-level acidity and some mild and very quaffable tannins. On the palate it gives raspberry with a touch of cranberry, black cherry, vanilla, cocoa and tobacco, orange peel and a touch of smoky dried herb. The fruit is juicy and direct in its statement. The finish has a touch of caramelized fruit.
This Zinfandel offers a quality I term “brightness,” that I have found in other quality Zins. I
mean this as a musical reference, as a trumpet is “bright” in its sound quality or as the
“bright” switch on a guitar amplifier adds a certain presence. It may well be that this is more
a matter of the feel of the wine than of the aroma or taste. Regardless, when you combine the
brightness with the fruit, oak and herbal notes and factor in this wine's tasty accessibility, you
arrive at a winner.
Verdict: Flavor and Feel
If California weren't so geographically varied, I would be calling for the state to concentrate its efforts on the grape that presents such possibilities: Zinfandel.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman