As a vineyard, Bogle has really done a fine job in the past 40 or so years of crafting quality wine at a fair price. And at $11, Bogle's 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel is both very drinkable and affordable.
But what is this "old vine" business all about?
A grape vine can grow over 120 years, but it begins to lose vigor around 20 years or so. Each year beyond, it may produce smaller harvest yields. However, the flavors in each yield may be different or more intense than in younger vines. The "old vine" terminology is not policed or standardized, so a winery could theoretically call 20 year old vines "old." In this case Bogle's Lodi and Amador county Zinfandel vines are between 45 and 80 years - certainly old for California grape vines.
In the glass, this youthful wine takes on a garnet cranberry color and gives off moderate notes of strawberry and spice. There is also a fairly strong scent of alcohol for a wine at 14.5%. The spice really had me going back to childhood - like I was about to bite into a snickerdoodle cookie covered with strawberries and vodka.
So... is it good?
Well it really isn't a stellar start as it hits the palate. The alcohol is just a tad too forceful. Sometimes I wonder if these bottle labels are correct - it feels closer to 20% but the label says 14.5%. When you get past the inital heat of the sip there is a nice cherry and raspberry fruitness cloaked in pepper and oak. It all dissipates in a moderately warm, smoky finish. Try this wine out with some smoked pork ribs or beef brisket.
Bogle's Old Vine Zin doesn't hold a candle to their Petite Sirah, but this is certainly a good wine. Still, for my tastes it is a little hot and lacks some of the complexity I'd like to find in a wine.
3.5 of 5 glasses
On a somewhat related note, I am REALLY looking forward to trying Bogle "Phantom" - a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. Yummy.