I dont know what it is about this wine. Every fall we think, alright, this time its going to be uneventful. We will leave absolutely nothing to chance and this time it will go without incident: right. The 1998 vintage was not a happy vintage. Late spring rains forced a very uneven crop set. Early fall rains caused LOTS of people to panic; I was among them. I am a little free with my criticism of the old boy, but Buck said "Do you want to have a winery full of mediocre wine?" Inescapable, huh? We waited, and were rewarded with ungodly luck. What characterizes the 98 vintage is acidity; the summer was very cool, so we had tart fruit. So be it.
The Warrior Fires Zin has always been a blend of two estate vineyards (you can see the old Miwok campsite on the home page of the website) and one of our neighbors old vineyards. There has been a cautious degree of seasoning added by the controlled growth of new American Oak barrels in the flight. However, the true flavoring of this wines is courtesy of those three vineyards; one is meaty, one has grip and the other has full blackberry power. While the 98 Warrior Fires aint bad now, the acid - tannin - fruit - oak complex has always been at its best after a year in the bottle. Like I said, I dont why, it just doesnt like to be bottled.
Those of you well schooled in classic wine should find this vintage to your liking. The 1998 vintage allowed us the chance to produce our most Franco-philic wines to date. While the body is decidedly Amador, the tartness and grip (tannin) are surprisingly traditional. The earthy-spicy nose leads one away from the blackberry-vanilla complex that coats the tongue a moment later. I hope you enjoy this rendition, its probably the best winemaking weve ever done.