Muddy Orange Stew

A staining tincture of Mercurochrome with considerable sediment. Vibrant minty tertiary pounds into your nostrils, gobs and gobs of tarry strop, high desert air in summer squall, all the drippings of sagebrush and rosemary and lavender with this brilliant little hot-pepper vegetal grinding out a niche in the middle. Fruit smelling far polished, headed for prune but still surrounded with so much vibrancy, the nose tells of a wine with several more years–and amazingly concentrated at 14.

This is one of those little one-off unknown discoveries that pop up occasionally–this one at Napa Valley Wine & Cigar several years ago–and I buy cautiously but generously. No website, no social presence, a couple unclaimed FaceBook pages, I have no information about production or availability or anything. WELL under 50 bucks and showing beautifully when I bought it 6 years ago, I have several left and am putting it on a short-list for consumption–it is incredibly gorgeous right now. It looks to be Calistoga, which is where I KEEP finding these little family projects that market very little. I’ve said for years Calistoga is the bargain Cabernet capitol of Napa Valley, and this one seems to support that.

In the mouth, thick and juicy, fruit definitely candied, and all that mint mingling with bright acidity and velvety tannins down in the grimy orange stew your eyes see as you’re sipping. Shockingly crisp and clean, buttered rum and apple pie take turns with peppermint bark and pastis which is really making me feel like this is mountain fruit.

Snoop around, find it if you can, if you DO, let me know.

2005 MUSANTE FAMILY VINEYARDS ‘Speranza’ Cab/CF/ME 89/10/1 Napa Valley 14.0

Calistoga

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