1. MayacamasZin: This '73, which had lain in my cellar since 1975, had over 1/4'th the bottle ullaged away. Should have been totally gone, but it was not. Tasted pretty much about where I thought it would be; still clinging to life, still having some interesting things to offer, but getting pretty frail. I've had btls that have been more than half ullaged away that have still some life in them. When I see some folks sweating bullets because some favorite wine has ullaged away a half inch down to the bottom of the neck and have their knickers in a knot because they're worried it will have turned to vinegar, it always makes me chuckle.
In 1968, Mayacamas made one of the first (along w/ Ridge & DavidBruce) LateHrvst Zins in Calif, using Napa grapes that were obviously harvested pretty ripe. It had little, if any, RS. When it was released in 1970, it was quite a sensation amongst the wine critics of the time. Parker gave it an 86, the highest score to date for a Calif Zin, as I recall.
They did not make another LateHrvst Zin until 1972, going up into AmadorCnty and using Ed&Kay Baldinelli's old-vine grapes (a vnyd now owned by BillEaston). The '73, though over 15%, was not labeled LateHrvst because it fermented out dry. I believe the '78, same grape source, was the last Mayacamas LateHrvst.
2. Callaway: ElyCallaway was the founder of BurlingtonIndustries, an early textiles giant, until he retired. He then went on to found CallawayWnry in Temecula. Ely did his homework and realized that Temecula, betwixt LosAngeles and SanDiego, was fairly cool for being that far South in Calif because of the cooling breezes thru the TemeculaGap.
He grew CheninBlanc/SauvBlanc/Chard for whites and PetiteSirah/CabSauv/Zin for the reds. His first winemaker was KarlWerner, who left to go establish RennasianceVnyds up in the Sierras. He was followed by TerryClancy, who raised the wines to a higher level until it was sold to Hiram-Walker. It's been downhill for Temecula ever since, probably/hopefully bottoming out w/ the proliferation of "couger juice".
Karl's winemaking called for the use of large German oak barrels, back in the '70's, which gave the reds a rather unusual character, unlike the Fr.oak that was then in vogue. The wines were acknowledged to be well-made and rather unique, but never seemed to get much traction in the marketplace.
The reds were always black as the ace-of-spades and pretty extracted and seemed destined for a very long life. This, their innaugral PS release, clearly indicates such. At nearly 40 yrs of age, it was still quite a pleasure to drink; a gentle/quiet old lady sitting off in the corner regaling people w/ her stories.
3. John: JohnBalagna was one of my original members of my wine group back in 1973. He went on to establish his own wnry here in WhiteRock (maker of the LaBombaGrande wine w/ the Trinity-shot mushroom cloud on the label, as featured in Newsweek magazine) until he closed it down some 10 yrs ago.
John's getting pretty frail at 93 and cannot come to my tastings anymore, but still enjoys a glass of wine ("DagoRed" he calls it) w/ every dinner. So some of us take the tasting to John and convene periodically at his home to taste a few oldies from our cellars. This was one such tasting.
4. LyttonSprings: This wine (alas, corked) was one of the first LyttonSpringsWnry Zins; under the ownership of DickSherwin (http://www.gangofpour.com/homage/reflection/sherwin.html). He was the publisher of WineWorld magazine, along w/ his wife, DeeSindt. The ValleyVista first rose to fame when Ridge produced their first LS Zin in 1972. Dick continued to sell to Ridge for a number of yrs, but founded his own wnry there on the property about 1977 os so.
Ridge continued to make LS Zin until they finally bought the property from Dick in 1991. They continued making a (non-Ridge) LS Zin for a few yrs because the slightly bretty/funky Zin had a definite following. But finally they abandoned that market.