Critics often disagree over particular wines. It's understandable; after all, they are only human, and there can be any number of reasons, from bottle variation to a dislike of a particular style or a perceived flaw. But if I were to pick a particular vintage, let's say for example 2005, and a particular grape, such as Zinfandel, then you might reasonably expect critics to agree on whether it was a decent vintage or not. Surely you wouldn't be in the situation where one publication says it's one of the worst vintages in the past 25 years whereas another says it's a great vintage?
Well yes, actually, you would. As for me, so far I've been reasonably impressed with the 2005 Zinfandels that I've tasted, and the Storrs "Rusty Ridge" has raised the standard further. The fruit is sourced from a number of old head-trained, dry-farmed vineyards in the Santa Clara valley, across the eastern edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It's aged mostly in American oak with some French.
This is exactly what old vine Zinfandel should be about. Rich, concentrated raspberry aromas and flavours; not sweet, not overly hot despite the 15.2% alcohol, and enough tannin and acidity to support it all without ending up flabby. The oak is integrating nicely and there are secondary notes of pepper and spice. It retails for around $25-$30 and at that price I highly recommended it.