The 2011 Four Vines Truant Old Vine Zinfandel is 90% Zinfandel, 7% Barbera and 3% Petite Sirah sourced mainly from the Lodi, Paso Robles and Mendocino AVA’s. Here is a brief run down on “old vine” Zinfandel in California, it was first planted by Italian immigrant farmers in the late 1800s as a taste of their homeland (Zinfandel is a twin of Primitivo, an Italian grape, but both originally came from Croatia). It was often used as communion wine in church and during Prohibition, communion wine was an exempt commodity, so Zinfandel vineyards flourished, while other grape varietals were pulled up and re-planted with other crops. In the 70’s the White Zinfandel craze hit and many new Zin vineyards were planted and those vineyards are now mature and delivering what can be labeled “old vine,” though there are many Zinfandel vineyards that are over 100 years old. Good grapes need to suffer a little to reach their full potential, grapes with great soil and plenty of sunlight and water tend to be simple and uninteresting. “Old vine” grapes struggle naturally, offering a wonderful resource for complex, tasty wine. Some grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, do not do well as old vines and those vineyards are replanted on a regular schedule. The Truant Zinfandel alcohol content is 14.4% (bottle) or 14.6% (tech sheet) and lists for $12, though the largest beverage store in the Chicago area sells it for $9.99.
The color is cherry red with black highlights. The nose is plums and blackberries, with a hint of vanilla (don’t know if it saw any oak conditioning), new-mown grass and a touch of spice. This is a rounded, smooth Zinfandel upfront, with a blast of tart flavors and spice showing up on the mid-palate. It starts with ripe blackberry, sweet blueberries and juicy plum. The mid-palate adds sour cherry, tart raspberry lemonade, licorice, black pepper and curry spice. There is some very good balance and length that you do not normally see in an inexpensive Zin. The finish is full and lengthy.
The 2011 Four Vines Truant Zinfandel is not simply a “let’s BBQ some pork on the grill” kind of Zin, it’s a let’s marinate some sirloin tips or infuse a chicken with herbs and grill that up kind of Zinfandel. The Truant Zinfandel is a balanced and flavorful wine that well do well with charred pork flesh slavered in sauce, but is more at home with more creative cooking. I know the Truant name says this wine is a bad boy, but it is a bad boy who can hang with a more upscale crowd.
this bottle was received as a sample