A most hedonistic nose of chocolate, chalky soil, and hill-country spirit combines with crushed raspberry and the sharp wit of rock & roll and tractor-pull. Bouqueted floral, wilted and ready to go, rosy with dill, sage and marjoram create a memory of Naugahyde and smooth wood and gear-lube. Round and concentrated while neither dessert-y or showing a speck of flab, its savory fruit and spicy herbed icing cause your nose to sit up and listen.

Memories of St. Helena Zin from the olden days mix with the unmistakable volcano and shale the foothills tremble with. Only far back in the nose does the plummy cherub of Zinfandel become visible–the rest is all power with finesse. Decanted heartily.

The gobstopping continues on the first sips. Fruit ripe and full: all KINDS of blackberry, dusty rose, and a flavor of icecream sourced from the bogs of Minnesota Ben & Jerry’s haven’t invented yet. Bitter and dark over the middle–fruit riding high on an acidic plane–it really quite comes off more intense young Merlot of Cab Franc than out-n-out Zinfandel. People complain I want my zins to taste like cab, but that’s not true. To quote the famous songwriter John Daly, “You don’t know me… Like I know me.”

This is tight and clean–and EVERY curve is Zinfandel. It’s just Zinfandel a lot of YOU are not used to tasting. You’ve had Paso and Dry Creek Valley and Amador crammed down your throat for now what? 30 years? and you’ve developed a *formula* for the variety. And hey: if you like zin like that: knock yourself out. I don’t. I like zins like THIS: full and rich and maybe a little bit angry but strong and tannic and brash and chewingly dense. The Doublemint Twins singing in the background and the Fernet in the snifter. And whatever part of the process wants to be done by *curvy* is fine with me. Because Zinfandel shouldn’t be a size 2.

2016 RETRO CELLARS Zinfandel Chiles Valley Napa Valley 14.9


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