Meet 7 Deadly Zins, an old vine Zinfandel from California’s Lodi Valley. The 7 Deadly brand released its first vine in 2002. The company says that the brand was born from the winemaker’s Catholic school upbringing and lust for making hedonistically seductive* wine.
“Sinful indeed,” they say, “our 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel is full-bodied and seductive. Heaps of jammy berry fruit are followed by aromas of leather, oak, and spice notes. On the palate, the wine is round and layered showing flavors of dark fruits, currants and toffee through a lingering spice-touched finish.”
Sounds delicious, and a perfect pairing for a feast (gluttony). Are there other special occasions for a sinful wine?
7 Deadly wines are made with grapes grown in the Lodi AVA‡ of California, where Zinfandel reigns supreme.
7 Deadly also makes 7 Deadly Red and 7 Deadly Cab. All three bold reds are vinified to have a big mouthfeel, good structure and a long finish.
The wines are also Lodi Rules Certified Sustainable.
“Old vine” typically refers to a wine made from vines that are 30 to 40 years old, or older; some experts set the minimum at 50 years. Hundreds of years of experience have shown that older vines, when properly maintained, yield a more complex wine. With age brings greater wisdom; or in the case of wine, better flavor.
Grape vines can grow for more than 120 years. After about 20 years, the vines start to yield fewer grapes, which provide more concentrated, intense wines.
There is no legal or generally agreed definition for old vines. The designation can apply to an entire estate, or to only a certain parcel, which was planted before the others.
Diseases such as “dead arm” can also afflict old vines, in some cases further concentrating the juice†.
In the U.S., the most common old vine wine is Zinfandel. In California, vines up to 125 years old are still bearing small amounts of prized Zinfandel fruit. But that’s nothing!
*That’s a marketing description, not a wine industry term.
†Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa lata. It randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often the affected branches are pruned. Left on the vine, they slowly become dead wood. The juice is thus concentrated in the grapes of the remaining branches. Australia’s Dead Arm Shiraz won Wine Of The Year at the 2020 London Wine Competition.
‡The Lodi AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in the Central Valley of California, at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley, east of San Francisco Bay. The AVA gained approval as a designated wine growing area in 1986.