The Lange Twins Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 is an Estate grown Zinfandel sourced from vineyards in the Lodi AVA of California’s Central Valley. The Lange Twins are identical twins Brad and Randall Lange, their family have farmed in Lodi since the 1870s and first purchased vineyards in 1916.
They are the 4th generation farming grapes with the 5th generation also part of the family business. It is not uncommon for Lodi wineries and vineyards to trace their roots back to the 1800s. While it is not unheard of in other California growing regions, it is almost typical for Lodi.
The term “Old Vine” is not a legal definition the usual interpretation is 40 years plus. But in Lodi, many vineyards survived Prohibition because the Catholic Church had an exemption for communion wine. The Church went through a great deal of wine, but the authorities looked the other way.
The White Zinfandel craze of the 1960s, it was a semi-sweet Rose’ wine, caused many Zinfandel vineyards to be planted to keep up with demand. Those vineyards may not have been highly regarded at the time they have become but after 60+ years they are sought after vineyards.
So, why “Old Vines”? The simple and short explanation is grapes need to struggle to develop complexity. Some of the best vineyards in the world are situated on land that provides the bare minimum of nutrition and water for the vines to survive and thrive. Older grape vines struggle they same way older folks have a harder time doing what they did in their younger days.
The 2017 vintage in Lodi was the first one after California’s extended drought and the late summer and early fall were extremely warm. So the grapes had a long growing season. For most grapes a long growing season is a very good thing, it allows the grapes to fully ripen with the most complexity.
This Zinfandel was taken from the Lange Twins best performing vineyards. The wine was aged in mainly American oak barrels. They did not specify the length of aging, but the 2017 vintage is the current vintage, so it has had a pretty good amount of age for a wine that lists at $15 and I found for $12.99. The alcohol content is 15%.
The Lange Twins Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 Tasting Notes
The color some serious purple with a clear halo. The nose is raspberry and spice, blackberry and black pepper, cold mocha coffee, and French vanilla. This is a full-flavored Zinfandel, half sophisticated and half rustic, kind of how I like it.
The Lange Twins Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 tastes of a stew of blackberry and licorice, plum and herbs, and a slap of spice. The mid-palate shows raisin spice, chocolate powder, tart cranberry, and ripe strawberry. The tannins do not get in the way (they rarely do in modern value wine) and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. There is a soft, rounded mouthfeel that contrasts well with the tart flavors and the shocks of spice. The finish is full and long.
- The Lange Twins Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 is an excellent Zinfandel.
- There are some great Zinfandel producers in other parts of California that mainly produce up-scale Zins. They have great reputations and deservedly so. But I like my Lodi Zinfandel.
- Not only are they usually less expensive, but I am a fan of the Lodi style. That is not to say the Lodi ZIns are all the same, they are not. But there is usually this classy meets farmhouse vibe that they have.
- I love that style, it is typically delicious, and that it is often to always less expensive is a great bonus.