2008 Sausal Winery Private Reserve Zinfandel

Mission Codename: Ninety Plus

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Infiltrate Sausal Winery and secure a high-value Old Vine Zinfandel for our Operatives around the world

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Sausal Winery

Wine Subject: 2008 Private Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel, Alexander Valley

Winemaker: Dave Demostene

Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the ItalianPrimitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grapeCrljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Alexander Valley Zinfandels, which are characterized by their big, extracted flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark ruby red with a brilliant, clear, glinting heart and edging. Both catch the light in a unique way, casting off sparkles of ruby red. At the edge of the glass, a medium width band of pink runs a circle around the wine. Tall, pencil-point fine legs run slowly down the glass after swirling.

Smell – Dusky and dark, with black cherry and brambly blackberry out in front. These are followed by dark raspberry, wild strawberry, dried meats, black pepper and a subtle dried herbal quality.

Feel – Initially cool, this wine quickly becomes plush and grippy, with a crushed Velvet feel that starts at the edges of the palate and works its way gradually inward. After a few moments, a mineral dryness spreads from the center of the palate, out to the lips and cheeks.

Taste – Bold and dark, with black cherry, blackberry, black plum and black currant. As the wine opens, wild strawberry, spiced cherry candy, bramble, crushed dried black flower petals, brown spice, flinty black pepper and a hint of subtle, smoky sweetwoods.

Finish – Very long and filled with red and black fruits which take a long time to fully diminish. As fruit fades, spice, minerals, black pepper and a lovely smoky quality slowly encroach. As the palate drys, spice and pepper remain, making the mouth water – in anticipation of another bold sip.

Conclusion – We’ve had the great fortune to showcase successive vintages of today’s wine. Each year, the wine is a little different. Each year it displays something very unique, as compared to prior vintages. This 2008 Sausal Private Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel, Alexander Valley shows off much more dark fruit than in previous years. That, and the fruit is more natural, more authentic. The wine really benefits from extended decanting and allowing thee wine to breathe for at least 30 minutes will reward you with even tastier fruit. Aromatically, this wine presents just like a classic Old Vine Zin, with plenty of dark fruit, but with a dusty, spicy character that only 90+ year old vines can convey. Pair with your favorite summertimeBBQ or enjoy it all on its own. Be sure to stock up, though. Enjoy some this summer, but cellar a few bottles for up to 10 more years. This flexible, evolving wine is built for enjoyment as well as for aging. Highly recommended, terrific price, limited supply – so be sure to act quickly.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Sausal winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

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