nimhgrad wrote:How does "old vine" compare to "regular vine"?
In addition to what the winery wrote in reply to your question, often, you see that term "old vine" when describing Zinfandel.
Zinfandel is not as widely grown as others such as Cab or Merlot. CA pretty much owns the lion's share of Zin production (thanks to White Zin still being viable wine). But, Zin is some of the oldest, if not oldest, plantings of commercial grapes in the US. So, you get a lot of vines which are over 150 years old. No other grapes, in this volume, can claim the same. You don't need to be 150 years old to attain old-vine status, either, but I'm not sure what the cutoff point is though.
This is my guess as to why, even though many other varietals/vineyards can claim a lot of age, you really only see it on Zinfandel.
Now, what does it mean to be "old vine"? It really means that the grapes produce an intensely rich, more concentrated (both in color and flavor) wine. Zin truly gains hugely from this aspect. In many cases, you wouldn't know a wine from an old vine vs new vine were the same varietal due to the differences in the finished product. Here in WA, we're getting some vines (Syrah) now which are in the 30+ year range. Try those wines against new vines in the same vineyard and you'll see a striking difference. The berries are usually smaller and don't produce as much juice.. but what they lack in volume, they can more than make up for in awesomeness of wine produced!
And, think of old-vine as Mother Nature's version of "port", just without the implied alcohol content. Every year, the vine, like the port, evolves and matures, creating more complexity. Try a 1 year old port vs. a 20 year old port. Huge difference.
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