I've been enjoying some local 2005 Zinfandels recently; so far all my experiences confirm that it's a very good vintage. The latest example is from Woodside Vineyards; I'd really enjoyed the 2004 release with its rich, bold fruit and expected this to be more of the same.
The first thing I noticed was the ring of tartrate crystals round the cork; presumably the wine wasn't cold stabilized before bottling. No problem; the crystals are easily removed and indicate that the winery doesn't believe in unnecessarily prcessing.
The wines is showing a LOT of oak influence right now. It's the dominant aroma on the nose, and the oak tannins are very evident on the tongue. There is good raspberry/loganberry fruit, but it's very much secondary at this stage. We agreed that the oak was too much and decided to open a Syrah instead.
After a few hours we came back to it. The oak was still very evident but the wine was more approachable; perhaps the air had smoothed it out or more likely our palates were dulled by the Syrah. Either way, I don't plan to open another of these for a while; we'll see what some time in the cellar does to those oak tannins.