Saintly Old Vine

Medium dried-blood ruby. Yeah, it’s a weird color–ok maybe not weird for Zinfandel, but interesting to try to decipher. Fairly transparent and ruby with pink edges, but at the same time it has a brownish core if you stare at it too long. So… I’m gonna stop staring. Bright nose–and hot–packed with brier and cleanser, with gobs of vanilla oak almost obscuring the brash apricot-preserves-fruit. Headed dangerously pruny, but there’s a sharp mineral edge under the head and flab which carries the whole package.

It’s a whopper, there’s no kidding yourself about that–I haven’t checked the alcohol but it is not invisible. The fruit is rotund but ridiculously spicy–something I will let the experts decide if fruit- and vineyard-derived or cellar-concocted. There’s so much black dark chocolate, coffee grounds and licorice. I want to give it the benefit of the doubt–because I love this winery and have for decades–but this nose is just textbook perfect. Maybe I should just stop being hard on it and trying to find fault with it and just shut up and call it perfect old vine Zin. But I’m so gun-shy with Zinfandel, especially Lodi and especially “Old Vine”. I’m sorry: you put that stuff on a front label and you are guilty until proven innocent–that’s just the way I’m wired. I just tasted it, and I’m going to guess 15-2. It redeems itself considerably in the mouth.

In the mouth, shockingly thin and focused. I mean the nose is SOOO opulent, the mouth-feel is a bit of a surprise in its restraint. See now this is what I keep coming back to the Spencers for over and over. It’s not a wallflower–don’t get me wrong–sweet sticky fruit coats the tongue and alcohol begins curling the edges of this vodka-and-prune-juice-tincture as more and more air involves itself. A green bitter starts at the roof and trickles down, helping things out a LOT. Now that I smell it again, it’s the same briar note that was in the nose. Finish heads off smoothly. No tannin to speak of–and if there is any, it’s buried in RS.

2015 ST. AMANT Zinfandel ‘Marian’s’ “Old Vine” Lodi 15.5

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