Who Says Zinfandel Don’t Age?

Who says Zinfandel don’t age?

YOU says Zinfandel don’t age?

Well, I gots two Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch Zinfandels says yer a gol-dang liar!


Winemakers Paul Draper & Eric Baugher,
and the 1994 & 1997 Pagani Ranch Zinfandels

Ok, I’m not a  cowboy.

Meaning, Paula Cole, I can’t help ya …

Where is my John Wayne

Where is my prairie song

Where is my happy ending

Where have all the cowboys gone?

–Paula Cole, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone”

No, I’m no cowboy. But I DO taste library zinfandel for Monday morning breakfast!

And as to whether zinfandel can age, should be aged?

I offer you two offerings from the Ridge Vineyards vaults, a two-vintage vertical of our Pagani Ranch zinfandel: 1994 and 1997.


Paul Draper is somewhat legendarily notorious for his conservatism when it comes to developmental estimations on our labels; consider the above: reviewed in 1996, with a projection of eight to ten years.

Tasting it this morning, some seventeen years out, I can confidently say that Paul was wrong.

Is the wine mature? Yes. Is it dominated by secondary characteristics? Yes. Is it delicious? Yes! Lovely cedar and sandpaper aromatics, with hints of persimmon and dried fig, and speckles of cardomom and pipe tobacco. Super acidity on the palate, with streamlined tannins and some delightfully sweet fruit tones. Rootsy, herbal, and complexly high-toned, this will delight any drinker of high-caliber cellarable offerings.

As to the 1997 Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch …


Tasted in 1999, with a five-year estimate for when it will “show to best advantage?” Silly Paul …

Listen, truth be told, these wines were being evaluated for possible pouring at a key event coming up on the horizon, and to a taster, the general consensus was that the wine might in fact be too young still to pour!

Take that, Paula Cole. I found your prairie song …

Categories: History, Paul Draper, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Vintage Wine Labels, Zinfandel

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1 reply

  1. Gosh, someone simply doesn’t understand. I have Geyservilles going back to the 1970’s; Lyttons from the late 80’s and Paso Robles from the 1990’s. YES, I have tasted them recently and folk asked me where I got them. I said “In a shop that is no longer there and direct from the vineyard on a visit, way back. My biggest problem? Keeping my greedy fingers off them!
    As to scoring, the FINEST Geyserville I have tasted was the 1990 – that was in 2008. It was MANIFICENT and fully deserved the 100 points. Oh yes, I have one bottle left …………

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