Ozwine dinner in Melbourne (Nov. 25)
Many thanks to Donna Singletary and Joel Bernstein for inviting me to join the Ozwine E-mail list's Wine Australia 2000 Offline in Melbourne - although I haven't been active on this list, Donna knew about my coincidental visit to Oz and invited me to drop in. (Ozwine is an international E-mail community of fanciers of Australian and New Zealand wine. For more information see, then click on "Australia Wine.")

Much to my surprise, the gathering at Boccelle restaurant in Melbourne's trendy Carlton district - with about 20 participants - turned out to have a Zinfandel theme, with an intriguing lineup of old and new Zins from California and Down Under. I took very quick and casual notes in the Palm Pilot, allowing a quick data dump. Here's a quick look at the wines we tasted:

Turley 1993 Moore Earthquake Vineyard Zinfandel - Earthy, jammy, huge.

Dry Creek Vineyard 1994 Sonoma County Old Vines Zinfandel - Complex old-Zin aromas, earthy, damp hay and sweet red fruit.

Dry Creek Vineyard 1995 Sonoma County Old Vines Zinfandel - Raspberries, vinous. Lots of fruit, good balance.

Cline 1997 Bridgehead Vineyard Contra Costa County Zinfandel - Big berry fruit with funky barnyard notes. Big and ripe, tart and long.

Cline 1997 Ancient Vines California Zinfandel - Warm and plummy, full and ripe.

Cline 1998 Ancient Vines California Zinfandel - Ripe blackberries and raspberries, big and up-front. Classic Zin.

Kangarilla Road 1996 McLaren Vale Zinfandel - Minty, peppery, Full, exuberantly fruity, juicy and sweet. Perceptibly Zin, but also unmistakably Australian.

Kangarilla Road 1998 McLaren Vale Zinfandel - Soft berry fruit, ripe and sweet.

Kangarilla Road 1999 McLaren Vale Zinfandel - Warm and plummy, soft and ripe. More Zinlike than the '96 or '98.

Cape Mentelle 1996 Margaret River Zinfandel - Fresh cherry-berry fruit and licorice, full and ripe, jammy and powerful.

Peel Estate 1994 Western Australia Zinfandel - Pruney, herbal. Black fruit and sweet licorice, big and hot. A junkyard dog of a wine.

Kingston Estate 1998 Victoria Zinfandel - Warm, raisiny, notes of anise and berries. Full berry fruit, juicy and tart.

Rosenblum 1997 Continente Vineyard Contra Costa County Zinfandel - Good ripe berry fruit, mouth-filling and ripe.

Rosenblum 1996 Contra Costa County Zinfandel - Raisins and plums over ripe blackberries. Big, raisiny, soft and sweet.

Ridge 1995 Pagani Ranch California Zinfandel - Lovely developed aromas of berries, anise and leather on the nose and palate. Big but balanced.

Ridge 1995 California Lytton Springs - Deep black fruit, textured and refined.

Ridge 1997 California Lytton Springs - Blackberries and saddle leather, big and ripe.

Alderbrook 1996 OVOC Sonoma County Zinfandel - Anise and black fruit; big and hot.

Alderbrook 1997 OVOC Sonoma County Zinfandel - Light berries aroma, more open on the palate, fresh and ripe.

Clos du Val 1997 Napa/El Dorado/San Joaquin Zinfandel - Aromatic licorice, fat black fruit, lemon-squirt acidity.

St. Francis 1997 Old Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel - Minty eucalyptus, odd for a Zin; leathery black-fruit flavor.

Kenwood 1998 Old Vines Lodi Zinfandel - Vinous berries, juicy fruit and a hint of alcoholic heat.

Francis Coppola 1997 Diamond Series Red Label Zinfandel - Closed nose. Plummy and warm, opens in the glass to layered mixed-berry fruit.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I accept no free samples from wineries or distributors, purchasing all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

Have you tasted these wines?
E-mail me your tasting notes, and I'll consider adding them to this page.

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