The label for this bottle has been missing for years, but the insignia on the top of the capsule identified it as Storybook Mountains Vineyards. I was hoping the cork would tell me the vintage date but, alas, it had only the SMV designation. I feel reasonably certain it was either 1983 (the first vintage for the estate) or 1985. Either way, I assumed it was probably an ex-wine.
The cork comes out with little difficulty and shows only about 1/8 inch of saturation on the bottom. Lots of sediment on the side of the bottle. The wine is an amber to brown color but still shows good brightness. The first sniff, though, is a revelation: prime zinfandel--dark berries, sweet and savory. Even more on the palate. Very rich and full but with good acidity that has carried it well for 35 plus years. A touch of earth on the long, long finish.
I thought for a minute I was drinking a top Ridge Zinfandel, but I know that Storybook Mountain Vineyards has its own well deserved reputation. Located in the Mayacamus Mountains above Calistoga, the location was considered perfect for Zinfandel when the estate was founded in 1983. By now, of course, Cabernet vines there are probably far more profitable. I'll stick to the Zin, thank you.