A unique wine tasting for London Branch members was held at the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall.
Ian Shane, an IWFS member of London Branch since 1988 (and also of New York since moving there in the late 1990s), took us through these wines selected from his cellar. We had the privilege of comparing Zinfandel wines all from the 2016 vintage, from different vineyards of a top quality Californian producer, who makes these wines available only to their loyal mailing list members by means of special deals.
Zinfandel is known as Primitivo in Italy. Both are clones of a grape originating in Croatia centuries ago. It arrived in the US in the early 19th century, and thrives in California.
We started with a wine from Puglia:
- Settimo Cappo Primitivo 2018 This wine was from 70-year old vines, aged in stainless steel, unlike the Californian wines which are normally aged fifteen months in barrel, 80% French and 20% American oak. This wine had rich fruit flavours on the nose and palate, firm tannins and was pleasant for quaffing, but not complex.
Then to eight wines from different vineyards of the Turley Winery, in North and Central California. Turley’s focus is on old vines, defined by the winery as 50 years minimum age. Farming is organic. Ian provided us with maps of California to show where the vineyards were located in the different regions. All wines were 15% or higher in alcohol.
- Old Vines Zinfandel – various regions in California
From over 20 vineyards. Age of vines 41-121 years old; average age c. 90 years
- Pesenti Vineyard – Paso Robles
The most southerly vineyard. Marine calcareous soil. Vines planted 1922–1924.
- Dusi Vineyard – Paso Robles
Alluvial soil. Vines planted 1945.
- Judge Bell – Amador County
Granite soil. Vines planted 1907.
- Dogtown Vineyard – Lodi
Clay and volcanic soils. Vines planted 1944.
- Salvador Vineyard – Contra Costa County
Sandy soil for 40 feet down. Vines planted 1896.
- Duarte Vineyard – Contra Costa County
Sandy soil. Vines from 1890s, through to 1960.
- Dragon Vineyard – Howell Mountain
Rocky volcanic soil. Vines planted 2000.
This last wine was the favourite as voted by us (we had two votes each), but several others were close.
We all immensely appreciated the kindness of Ian Shane in sharing these richly flavoured, high alcohol wines, which we could not have tasted and compared in any other way. An incomparable presentation!