2004 Sausal Century Vine Zinfandel

Price: $30.00 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “The Century Vines Zinfandel is made from estate-grown Zinfandel vines planted along Sausal Creek prior to 1877. These vines are still producing juice Sausal considers as having the truest varietal characteristics of any they have sampled.

The 2004 vintage’s dark, ruby color is soon followed by a rich, full nose of chocolate and cherry aromas with a subtle yet distinct vanilla spice. The full flavor of the wine comes out as soon as it hits the palate; candied cherry and soft hints of spice create a full mouthfeel. Well structured tannins lend themselves to a long finish, contributing greater depth to an already full-flavored, full-bodied wine.

The 2004 Century Vines Zinfandel is definitely great now, but with a few more years in the bottle will offer an even greater reward. Whether now or later, pair this wine with a juicy steak, wild game, or marinated pork tenderloin.”

What I Think:

First and foremost, in the spirit of full disclosure, as mentioned in a previous post, I am a member of the wine club at Sausal. I enjoy all their wines due to their reasonable price to quality ratio. but especially the Zinfandels for which they have built their reputation on. They have four different bottlings. This is the crème de la crème. And is followed by the Family Reserve ($24), Private Reserve ($18) and down to the Cellar Cats ($12). I think all are made from estate fruit with the main difference being the age of the vines from which the grapes for each bottle are harvested.

This was the first time I had this offering outside of the tasting room and boy was it a learning experience. Given that I have had wine from a 130 year old vines about zero times in my life I wasn’t exactly sure how much my expectations should change from that of a typical high class Zinfandel offering, The steaks were marinating on the table, so it seemed like a prime opportunity to find out. I pulled the cork out of this one and was greeted with loads of cherry and plums on the nose, with a mint/methyl aroma lingering in the back ground. In the mouth it has excellent structure as the cherries were again out in force. As the mid-palate began to fade this wine teased you as if some spice were going to appear but nothing but the lightest of tannins were perceptible as the fruit lasted to the end. You could certainly lend credence to the age of the vines. This was a polished, well rounded and perfectly integrated bottle. That said it was not your typical Zinfandel. In a word, it was mellow. The boldness you may have expected on opening this bottle never appeared. Given the high quality of this offering I must credit that affect to the age of the vines. Hopefully my one year old will start to mellow a little earlier!

We tried this one along side the Beringer Clear Lake Zinfandel which gave me some context, but next time I want to do it with the basic Sausal Zin, Cellar Cats, offering. This should offer the best insight. Given that I have another bottle of this one I will get me chance. That said I am going to let it lie for a year or two but given how polished this is I can’t see what there is to be gained by waiting but I’ll defer to the ones that know better for the time being. Maybe later I’ll try to pass judgment. Given that you are unlikely to track down this bottle I would recommend trying a wine that comes from old vines. It is an eye opening experience.

Rating: Wow!

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