1999 Cedarville Zinfandel, 14.4% alcohol
Deep reddish-purple color. Nice nose of spice, berries, dark fruit. A little of the ripe fruit character that one would expect with a 14%+ zin, but not a one-note wine by any means. In the mouth, there's an initial spicy-brambly character with the dark berry fruit showing in the mid-palate. Perhaps a touch lacking in acidity but brought into balance with silky tannins that help make for a long finish. The alcohol shows a bit when it hits the stomach, but the wine does not taste at all hot. There's a smooth, light quality on the palate that makes you want to take another sip.
Cedarville's zins have always managed to give a sense of balance and elegance. This one has aged well and only reinforces that reputation.
Letterman asked Zevon if his condition had taught him anything about life and death. ''How much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich,'' Zevon answered. (From a 2003 NYTimes article on Zevon by Jon Pareles.)