Quick post before I head to bed tonight. I've had a case of the zinfandel wine that I made as my very first wine from grapes way back in 2006. The grapes came from the CA Central Valley and I've never been happy with this wine (quite a blow to my winemaking ego that the first wine I make from grapes stunk). Very light in color, not all that flavorful, and there was this harsh phenolic taste in the finish. In a word--blech!
I ended up bottling this stuff in 2007 before I was forced to move to MA and I've had a case of the bottles sitting in the basement ever since. Frankly, I've been wanting to free up some storage space, so I decided to open a bottle of the 2006 tonight.
In it's defense, the fruitiness is finally beginning to emerge. The phenolic taste is greatly diminished. But, it's still a very light color, light tasting wine with a fairly disagreeable finish. I forced myself to finish the glass and then poured the rest down the drain. I've made a decision--I'm dumping the remaining wine and reclaiming the bottles. The storage space & bottles are worth more to me than the wine.
To please my palate after that experience, I popped open a bottle of the 2008 Zinfandel. This was made from supposedly premium northern CA grapes. I do have to admit to liking this wine--a LOT! Aged in an American oak barrel for 9 months, this wine is dark, heavy, fruity, rich, pure heaven!
Probably not a fair comparison. I've had some practice making wine from grapes since 2006 and used some additional techniques to extract both color & tannins, so shouldn't be a surprise that a later vintage is better. The grape source for the 2008 Zin was much higher in quality. And I barrel aged vs adding oak flavors with oak cubes or spirals. But, darn it! I like the 2008 Zinfandel!
A picture is better than words, so here's a couple to illustrate the difference in color between the 2006 & 2008. In both pictures the 2006 is on the left and the 2008 is on the right. Isn't the difference in color between the two wines amazing?
I've come a long way, baby!