Took this wine to a BD dinner in SantaFe for BernieRoth to go with the cheese course:
1. Mayacamas LateHrvst Calif Zin (17%) 1978: Med.dark color w/ slight browning; rather charred/tobaccoy/cedary some ripe/blackberry/Zin/briary fairly complex nose w/ little alcoholic heat; off-dry some blackberry/briary/earthy/dusty/Zin fairly charred/burnt/smokey/oak cedary/tobaccoy/old pipe slightly alcoholic fairly smooth/round flavor w/ no rasined or late harvesty character; med.long off-dry some briary/blackberry/dusty/Zin rather charred/tobaccoy finish w/ light tannins. In remarkably good condition for a 28 yr old LH Zin.
Un petite BloodyPulpit:
1. I had pretty low expectations for this wine and took it primarily to solidify my reputation in the wine world for decrepit/tired/enfeebled old relics from my archives. I had had my last Maycamas LH '72 about 4-5 yrs ago and thought it was on its last legs, pretty dried out and raisened.
Surprise, the wine was in remarkably good shape, not at all dried out, not at all raisened nor pruney, and seemed to carry the high alcohol pretty well and still had some Amador fruit left in it. A bit like an old vintage Port w/o the alcoholic burn.
With the stinky Herve Mons Soumaintrain (which, I was informed, is a vastly inferior version of Epoisses), I thought it went pretty well. As expected, the wine was pretty soundly vilified by the rest of the dinner party. My reputation is intact!!
Maycamas made one of the first LateHrvst Zins in 1968 from NapaVlly grapes. In 1972, they made their next LH Zin, using AmadorCnty grapes from Ed&Kay Baldenelli's vnyd, now owned by Bill Easton. This '78 version, their #3 LH as I recall (and, alas, my last btl) was fairly sweet in it's youth and packed w/ ripe briary/Amador Zin fruit. Like some of us, it has withstood the test of time, and has come together well and resulted in a wine that's a pleasure (at least to me) to drink, a nice trip down memory lane.
Of course, Bob Travers should be tarred and feathered for pioneering this genre of high-alcohol/extracted Zinfandel. This was at the height of this style in the late-'70's and resulted, of course, in the crash of the Zin market. Bob should hang his head in shame, I think, for foisting off on the unwitting public such a grotesque characticure of fine Zin. Thank goodness they don't make this kind of wine anymore.