The 2003 Zinfandel Aida (95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah aged 25 months in primarily American oak casks) reveals sweet vanillin notes intermixed with pepper, earth, and a Chateauneuf du Pape-like, Provencal herb, garrigue characteristic. It is a rich, full-bodied, savory red to drink now and over the next 4-5 years.
Good ruby-red. Plum, currant and smoke on the nose; rather claret-like for zinfandel. Sweet, lush and soft, with a plummy flavor complemented by mellow nutty oak. Nicely integrated acids and fine-grained tannins will not get in the way of enjoying this right now.
There is no question but that this hefty, very full-bodied wine pushes the limits of ripeness, but it reveals solid, blackberry fruit beneath its heavy veneer of chocolate and very rich oak. It is an inelegant wine, but one of great substance, and its late-harvest swagger raises all of the usual cautions against indiscriminate pairing with foods.
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