Quite light, transparent ruby. Sagebrush and oleander in the nose, wet inner-tube and the thin, acidic briar that tells you instantly this will not be a big flabby monster Zin. A bit of heat–mostly just the intensity of the figgy fruit inter-mingling with the structure. Streamlined and lithe throughout, it sets itself up for being made in a lean, mean way.
BUT: the most important part: there’s that unmistakable warm cozy slush of dark candied cherry that tells you it is Zinfandel. That’s important. Chardonnay and Zinfandel suffer from this the most, as the backlash from huge versions–FORTUNATELY–churns on. YOU CAN’T TAKE THE VARIETY OUT OF THE WINE. It NEEDS to still taste like Chardonnay–even if it is not oak & butter. It NEEDS to still taste like Zinfandel–even if it is not jam & vodka. This thing is a beautiful nod to the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s classics from Napa, Sonoma, and Contra Costa County.
In the mouth, sharp fruit, sharp acid, sharp spice, and the sharp realization ANY dolt who has bought into the massive 16-5 clods that have been shoved down our throat for 20 years ARE GOING TO HATE THIS. Seriously, just stop reading. THIS is Zinfandel. Round and luscious, yes, with curves in the right places, but grinding white pepper, black walnut, gunpowder tea and an affront of acid sharpening and caressing the luscious cherry cola and thick blackberry. The fruit hangs on forever and ever, but the tannins on this thing OMG the tannin on this thing.
We all have that old friend who will pull out 30YO zins and say, Yo, you gotta try this, and you’re like, Dude, are you kidding? Zinfandel from the 70’s? And you taste it and it is SO ridiculously alive and you wonder how this happened because NOTHING you have seen produced since about 1995 is capable of such feats. Well, THIS is how that happens. Right here. Befittingly structured, fashionably fruited, I’d be shocked if it were hi-14, and ALL Zinfandel sexiness. Just the way it should be.
2016 ANCIENT OAK Zinfandel Pagnano VYD RRV Sonoma California 14.7