It's a mystery how I, a big fan of Lodi Zinfandels, haven't explored Oak Ridge Winery's offerings in depth before now. The oldest operating winery in Lodi, it established the first tasting room in the area, and with that in mind, I dove into the deep end with Oak Ridge's 2011 Ancient Vine Zinfandel, called Moss Roxx.
The label itself has an interesting "ancient" appeal, adorned with a cave-painting-like bear figure in gold foil, and the bottle was noticeably heavier than most (or maybe I just need to lift some weights).
Lodi is known for having a classic Mediterranean climate, well-suited for growing a variety of grapes, from Viognier to Cabernet, and is especially well-known for its Zins. I'm quick to pick up anything red from the area and wines denoted "old vine" typically rank high on my list. So, of course, "ancient vine" caught my eye.
Impressively, some of the oldest vines at Oak Ridge are around 125 years old, and the vines for Moss Roxx average 105 years old. (Note: Neither "old vine" nor "ancient vine" designations are regulated on labeling, but many good wines are available that are cultivated from older vines—just make sure to do your homework.)
The wine immediately gives away its deep character with an array of lingering scents. Bold cherry on the nose yields to subtle touches of tobacco and hints of anise—a lot to take in before even taking a sip. Luckily, the decadent flavor profile matches the bouquet with lots of berry and jam layers. While the taste and aromas are complex, it manages to not feel too heavy or overpowering, leaving one wanting more instead of invoking a sensory overload.
Moss Roxx is the type of wine I enjoy on its own, unadulterated, in order to appreciate its subtleties. It's easily drinkable with a smoothness betraying its 14.5 percent ABV. Whether it's the experienced winery, the century-old vines, the ideal climate, or a bit of each, wine this good will never get old.