I’ve often been guilty of asserting that Zinfandel doesn’t last. I’ve opened too many aging Zins to find them falling apart, so much so that I had given up aging them. And honestly, it’s not so bad drinking them when they are young and full of fresh jammy fruit flavors.
The folks at Limerick Lane have taught me a lesson. It comes back to the fruit, the source, the initial pH levels, the acidity and the balance in the glass that the winemaker crafts.
Mike Collins has a perfect piece of land in the Russian River Valley appellation, close to Healdsburg. There’s enough cool here to keep the pH in check. Then winemaker Ross Battersby and his assistant Rick Oberlin get the balance right.
The retrospective tasting took in vintages back to ’89, which was soft and mature, ’91 which was amazingly fresh and ’95 which was luscious and fruity. I’m talking about Zinfandel from California, believe it or not.
Ross joined the winery in time to craft what is a marvelous ’98 that is full of jammy fruit 10 years on. Successive vintages in the new millenium, from ’00 through ’03 showed youthful and concentrated fruit on the palate. I have written previously on the more recent vintages so I didn’t taste them on this particular trip, choosing instead to focus on the older wines and the question of Zin’s age-ability. I am pleasantly surprised.
The current release:
Limerick Lane, Russian River Valley, Collins Vineyard, Zinfandel 2005 is available at the winery for $30 per bottle. Put a case aside to enjoy it down the road. Limerick Lane