2004 Linne Calodo OutsiderI wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I won’t be tasting “new” wines any more and reviewing them; at least, I won’t be reviewing wines that aren’t ready for prime time.  The wines are good, but if it’s not ready to drink, how can anyone give a good judgment about the wine in its youth?

I had decided to drink a bottle of one of my “good,” relatively aged wines over the Labor Day weekend.  I found a 2004 Linne Calodo Outsider resting in my Haier wine cooler (the “I Can’t Believe I Spent That Much on Wine” cooler), and decided to enjoy it.

First, let me explain the concept of aging.  A really “good” wine from a classic wine area that’s known to improve with age can do so – up to 30 years, more for vintage Ports.  I’m going to be 60 my next birthday.  Do I want to spend a gazillion dollars for a wine that will be good enough to drink in ten or more years, possibly “peaking” in 25? Uh. No.

For our purposes, we’re talking about wines three to ten years past vintage (the year on the bottle), that’s been carefully stored in a suitable manner – temperature, humidity, and left alone.  That describes my experience with the Linne.

The 2004 Linne Calodo Outsider was a rich, deep berry color with only a hint of an age ring.  On the nose, berry, cocoa, dark fruit, and pepper predominated.  On the palate, it reminded me why I had fallen in love with Paso Robles Zinfandels (this vintage of Outsider had 68% Zin) in the first place.  Although the last few years have seen me turn to Zins that are more subdued, the Outsider’s rich, lush, jammy, with added earth from being seven years past vintage just swept me away.  The finish had berries and an unmistakeable hint of fruited unsweetened cocoa. Luscious and beautiful; in fact, I’d even say that it’s better now than it was during the time it was *supposed* to be ready to drink.

I noticed many comments on CellarTracker about this wine having a lot of CO2 effervescence when first opened.  There was none of that in this bottle.  It was pure joy from first sip to last.  I hadn’t intended to write about whatever wine I was going to drink over the weekend, but I couldn’t just let it go by.

Linne Calodo is one of the “high end” wine makers in Paso Robles, turning out consistently good wines that, if you have a budget like mine, can be considered somewhat pricey.  With that being said, I’m speaking of under $75, not over $100.  They are not your “daily drinker” wines, just wines of class, taste, and flavor that consistently garner scores in the 90s.  This wine definitely earned my George Clooney seal of excellence!


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