Victor Vineyards 2011 Old Vines Zinfandel

Lodi, CA; 14.5% ABV
$6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 3 Sept

Victor_2011_ZinfandelI had avoided this wine for a while because I’ve disliked previous Lodi Zins I’ve tasted.  However, a couple people recommended it as full-bodied yet balanced, and they are right.  This wine is delicious!

I opened this before I started cooking, to drink during dinner, so I don’t know if it needed air.  However, at dinner time, it showed brooding (a Parkerism, yes?) dark tarry blackberry, black raspberry, and a little sweet black pepper / black earth, all reasonably balanced by acid of black and dark red raspberries.  It’s an excellent value.

As a possibly entertaining aside, I opened the Waterbrook 2012 Melange blanc to drink while cooking, and it tasted as though it has a bit of Viognier in it.  The intensely dark character of the Zin reminded me of some Syrahs, and I recalled how Viognier is blended into Côte-Rôtie to give the Syrah a more aromatic and nuanced character.  The addition of about 10% Melange blanc to the Zin had a similar effect that I enjoyed, although I’m not sure I’d call it superior to the unblended Zin.

15 thoughts on “Victor Vineyards 2011 Old Vines Zinfandel

  1. Gary

    Thanks for the recommendation, its great for that price. I have had zins at four times that price that did not come close. Lets see how it is after a day in the decanter.

  2. JoelA

    I like many Lodi zins, but by no means all – they can be very different. This one reminds me of one of my favorites, made by a very small winery in Lodi. When first opened it had a lot of tarry flavors; over the next couple of days the fruit came up more.

    It has concentrated fruit, as one should get with an old vine zin, with tarry and other flavors that take a couple of days to open up. I didn’t check the acid. The alcohol is a little high but not too high for this wine. I think that, similarly to my favorite, above, it will take some years for the wine to integrate. I hope there is no bottle variation and suggest laying it down for at least 5-6 years (my favorite does well at about ten, which is longer than one should age most zins).

    1. EHL

      Laying it down for up to a decade(?)………..I will probably be dead (laying down also) before that wine is ready for optimal drinking……..LOL.

      Just kidding!

      1. JoelA

        I don’t know about you, EHL, but I’m at the age where I have had to stop buying wines to lay down to avoid my heirs having to deal with my wines (and other things).

        1. EHL

          Hey JoelA……..yes, you sound a little bit older than me, since your comment appears more serious, whereas mine was definitely tongue-in-cheek.

          Btw BW…….a final update on the Victor Zin…….on the third day of drinking and finishing my bottle…….an amazing metamorphosis……the wine darkened considerably and suddenly developed that lively “delicious”-ness that y’all have been crowing about……an intensely dark, spicy, dry essence of black fruit titillated the tongue as it slid down my throat……

          Yes…..this wine definitely needs some time to breathe to show its stuff……but it’s clearly worth the wait!

          1. permiesworld

            We finally tried this. Agreed, it is a much different with air. At first it’s really jammy to me but after a day, I liked it a lot. Day one it was good with food. Day two it could stand on it’s own.

  3. EHL

    Based upon the positive reviews, I picked up three bottles of the Victor Old Vine Zinfandel, while it was available. I generally like deep reds like Zin, especially old vine stock, and have enjoyed Lodi products in the past.

    With anticipation, I tried the first bottle last night………and am not sure that purchasing the trey was wise.

    The first thing I noticed open pouring the dark red wine was the lack of bouquet, and what nose finally appeared smelled of candied fruit……not my favorite aroma.

    The wine itself was smooth and tasted of concentrated, ripe fruit……but it seemed a bit flabby, lacking acidity and structure… least to my unrefined palate……..LOL. Hopefully it improves the second day.

    I didn’t find the Victor Zin to be particularly memorable or exciting……and kind of wished I had picked up a couple more bottles of the Kendall Jackson Reserve Vinter’s Cab instead.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi EHL. While my bottle of this wine was indeed not very structured, I didn’t find lack of bouquet, candied fruit, or flabbiness. The second half of my bottle was indeed more acid, but I thought also more simple. Maybe again bottle variation, but please let us know what you think of the second half. Thanks for the interesting report.

      1. EHL

        Hey BW,

        Unfortunately, the second day did not improve the Victor Zin measurably. It still seemed a little flat, without life, and even developed a semi-raisiny finish.

        Regarding temperature, as noted by Seedboy, obviously Reds need to be drunk on the cool side, not overly warm, and my bottle had been in the fridge for an adequate period but that didn’t significantly help it.

        I’m afraid there are quality variations within the vintage of bottles we sampled……and hopefully the other two I picked up will evidence the promise you guys experienced!

        1. Expat

          I used to love zins but my pallet has changed to dry, old world style and so many zins are unbalanced with so much fruit and sweetness. I had heard good things about this so I took it to a party and was pleasantly surprised. It was not an oafy zin and BargainWhine’s review is very much what I tasted. Definite raspberry and some blackberry, light on the pepper (bummer), overall nice balance without too much fruit and a little spice. For $5 it’s a great deal, unless there is major bottle variation and every other one bites…

    2. Seedboy

      I opened a second bottle of this and found it less satisfying, but I think it was because the weather has been warm where I live (Berkeley) and the wine was too warm. I’m going to chill a bottle down to 55 and see how it does.

      1. Seedboy

        Two days later the rest of that bottle was pretty good. Cooling it helped, and I’m sure also the Dodgers’ victory as well.

  4. lim13

    It arrived up here in Silverdale, WA yesterday, BW. I was just waiting for your review…and I like what I read above. So I’ll be picking up a few tomorrow. Thanks. And, of course…it’s a dollar more here.


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