Is the 2009 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel as Good as the 2007?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've noticed when a new vintage of a high quality:price ratio wine comes out I'm frequently disappointed with it. I loved the 08 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir - early impressions of the 09 aren't as favorable. The 03/04 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlots were great, but the 05 never rose to the same heights.

Sometimes I think it's irrational - that I'm hanging on to a notion I've had in my head of a wine that jumped out at as being a great value that future vintages could never live up to. A "first born" syndrome so to speak. I loved the 2008 Trentatre Rosso I wrote about recently and found notes saying it wasn't as good as the 07 interesting.  Like this one - "a shadow of the 07". I've never tried the 07 but maybe if I wouldn't have been so impressed with the 08?

What's got me thinking along these lines is the arrival of the 2009 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel. Prior vintages of this wine has been mainstays in this value hunter's wheelhouse. When you meet a guy at the neighborhood block party that brings an 07 Seghesio you know he's a wine guy.

The 06 vintage is where I first took notice of this wine and in 07 it garnered a 93 point Wine Spectator rating and landed in their Top 10 list.  Early impressions of the 08 left me feeling like something was missing from the wine - a similar flavor profile but less oomph.  Spectator rated the 08 88 points - a large drop from the 07.  Combined with a slight uptick in street price (from around $16 to $18) I didn't buy more of the 08.

The 09s are now replacing the 08s on retailer shelves so I was interested to try the wine and compared it side by side to a bottle of the 07. Bottle age plays into the mix but it was an interesting comparison for sure. For me, what the 07 has that the 09 lacks is this savory kick at the backend that sets it apart and keeps the wine enjoyable sip after sip.  The 09 is soft, round and luscious.  It's a great wine, but sadly I can't consider this a return to glory of the 06/07 vintages - at least not with what the wine is showing right now.

Maybe bottle age will reveal more of these secondary characteristics - I don't think I was so impressed with the 07 when it first came out either.

2009 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County
Street Price: Around $18
15% Alcohol

Big, round and soft. Conceals its 15% alc magnificently. Violets and ripe plums on the nose. Tannins are soft and acidity is minimal. Better than the 08 when it was first released but not as good as the 07 with a couple years of bottle age.

A nice sub-$20 Zinfandel.

90/100 WWP: Outstanding

I'd put the over/under on Wine Spectator's rating of this 2009 at 90 points.  We'll see what Tim Fish has to say soon.

Update (April 18, 2011): Wine Spectator released their rating for this wine. 90 points. (subscription required)

Have you had this wine?  What did you think of it?


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