Wines From The Cellar: How Do They Perform?


Rosenblum 2003 Rockpile ZinfandelSince I review new release wines most of the time, some of my cellar wines frequently get ignored.  However, I pulled out a couple a bottles to review and share with family and friends on a recent vacation in upstate New York.  The two bottles I chose where the Plumpjack 2000 “McWilliams Oakville Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, CA & the 2003 Rosenblum “Rockpile Vineyards” Zinfandel.  I chose these two wines for a reason which I will explain. 

I chose the 2000 Plumpjack Cabernet because this wine is from the dreaded 2000 vintage.  Wine Spectator rated the Napa Cabs from 2000 as an 85 overall.  They described the vintage as “mixed and a bit green overall, but some stellar wines that may be overlooked and undervalued.”  We had the Plumpjack a few years back and I remembered it as a big wine from a vintage that had many many very thin wines.  It did need cellaring.  So how did it turn out?  Well I can tell you that the 2000 Plumpjack Cabernet from the 2000 vintage is one of the gems from that vintage.  It performed very well and is drinking beautifully now.  Click on the above link for the full review.  This is a Napa Cab that would be worth seeking out.  A quick search on the web tells me there is some still out there.  Prices are all over the place for this one, but I saw a few deals.  You will not be disappointed if you score a couple of bottles.I chose the 2003 Rosenblum “Rockpile” because I have had some bad experiences with holding Zinfandel in the cellar for a long time.  They tend to die, get flat, and lose all their fruit.  So I thought I would see how the Rosenblum would be performing.  If you know Rosenblum wines, they are very concentrated and fully extracted.  So I was very hopeful that these wines would be still big and juicy options. I can tell you that the other bottle I still have of this wine can stay in the cellar for quite some time as this wine is just as good (if not better) than when I first tried it.  This wine is still a big wine and shows all the characteristics that you want from a big fruit forward California Zinfandel.

I was very pleased with the results of this little cellar experiment.  I have found over the years that cellaring wine is a very risky proposition.  I find predicting future performance of cellared wines to be even trickier.  Most wines are made to be consumed early; that means in my book within 5 years of the vintage.  The rewards of cellaring the right wines are great.  However, great care and research must go into choosing the wines you put away.  I was rewarded.  I hope you will have similar luck in your cellar pulls.  Cheers - Ken

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