Old and New

Beautiful clear orange pink. Such a ridiculous shade of peach, against white it almost looks like white wine–just a psychological pink in the heart of it you have to really look for. Musty goodness in the nose, telling you LOUD AND CLEAR this is not JuicyFruit, but serious Grenache rosé. Sweaty and delicate-smelling, frozen strawberry pie-filling tins, pepper- and rosemary-infused pizza oil, wet wood on a street-cart’s wheels, all flow seamlessly from the bouquet onto the palate, where the savory goodness explodes, and NOW we have fruit, oh yes: spicy zippy melon and the acidic grate of kiwi, the buoyancy of good white sherry, and the finality of a great red Grenache.

This kid makes 2 rosés, a pinot and a grenache… One to keep me happy and one to keep everyone else happy. This is really good rosé. It’s pretty simple stuff, let’s be honest… I mean: something like this would sell for 6€ a litre in the South of France, BUT WE’RE NOT THERE ARE WE, KAREN? Direct, clean, mouthfilling, not pink and not slutty, that’s all I ask for and this DELIVERS.

Last weekend I did something I almost NEVER do. I went to a tasting room. In Paso Robles. I had heard a winery known for its fat touristy wines was pouring the winemakers own label and these were “restrained and not Paso-ey” so I decided to visit. This turned out to be false information and the tasting lasted all of 10 minutes with me only smelling at least 2 of the pours. That’s is not what this story is about. This story is about what happened next. I’m like, Well, THAT was a non-event, where should we go? Down the street was J. Dusi. Now we all know Dusi. Zin, right? Big ripe Paso zins. But I had heard the Dusi woman say they were making things in a more restrained, old-school fashion (which I didn’t believe for a second), and pulled in, expecting the tasting to last 5 minutes.

I was wrong. Honestly I was surprised how LITTLE Zinfandel there was being poured. Grenache, Tempranillo, Carignane and Syrah. I’m standing there going Where’s the fucking zin? The wines were LOVELY, all showing varietal correctness and the sleight of hand of a good winemaker.

Decadently smoky and charged with the kind of attitude reserved for wines from the Italians in Sonoma in the 70’s and 80’s, This thing charges out of the glass carrying licorice, black tar, black peat, sumptuous blackberry, the DARKEST cherry you thought possible, and a petrichor which squares everything in vegetal, minty goodness. I literally could smell this wine all day long. It’s GORGEOUS. Wet mexican leather, ham hocks buried in pea soup, the crystal brilliancy of whitecaps over stones in the high desert, chaparral and sage mending close, but not quite meddling, this wine is gorgeous. Wait, have I said that already? Sorry.

In the mouth, all the wonderfulness you had forgotten, and the charisma and appeal and sex and dirt and grime and straight-up country beauty you fell in love with back in Sonoma in the 90’s is alive and well and plastered all over your face. Dank wood and bitter blackberry, the shuck of rock and hillside, the jive of wet concrete and redwood. Fruity and perfect, the disgusting berry transfers itself onto your tongue, refusing to let go. Woody gravitas morphs perfectly into the finish, where very little tannin reside. That’s my only complaint, but in retrospect, that’s an extremely shallow complaint.

I know those of you familiar with the plethora of Dusi bottlers do not recognize this label, but I encourage you to check it out. Old-skool blend like nothing else in Paso Robles.

2018 DUSTY NABOR Grenache Rosé Santa Rita Hills California 14.0
2015 J. DUSI ‘Fiorento’ Zin/PS/CG 60/30/10 Dante Dusi VYD Paso Robles CA 14.8