The 2011 Old Moon (Old Vine) Zinfandel is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive that has been around since at least the 2004 vintage. Old Moon Zin is made for TJ’s by Delicato Family Vineyards, the producers of Gnarly Head, Brazin and HandCraft among several others. The term Old Vine does not have a legal definition, it can be whatever the producer wants it to be, 20 year old vines or 120 year old vines. The reason that old vines are desirable in a wine is that all good grapevines need to suffer to create nuanced, full flavored grapes. Happy well watered and fertilized grape vines quickly produce an abundance of not very interesting grapes, but the older vines naturally struggle to produce fewer and better grapes. We posted the 2010 Old Moon ZIn over a year ago, it was ok, but a little too light for my tastes, I decided to give the 2011 another try to see if there was anything I missed last year. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is Dorothy’s ruby slippers red. The nose is strawberry and light Altoid’s spice, with a touch of peach and a little oak vanilla. It tastes of raspberry, blackberry, curry spice and peach marinated in vodka (but without a heavy hit of alcohol). The mid palate brings blueberry, red Twizzlers and a little orange dreamsicle . The Old Moon does not taste like a textbook Zinfandel, but I don’t care, I like what’s there. The tannins are firm, but do not bite and the acidity does not really show itself. The finish starts off well but fades a little too quickly.
Well, that’s more like it, with the 2010 Old Moon Zinfandel, I had it once and was never tempted to try it again, the 2011 vintage is a whole another story, this one has tons of flavor, with this one your glass empties a little too quickly. A good Zinfandel should pair very well with a slab of BBQ ribs and the Old Moon Zin would rock with those caramelized, crunchy end bits.