A deep, dark, almost smoky smelling wine. Initial funk blows off quickly, and barely merits a note. At first there is nothing Zinfandel about it, but with air, the classic plummyness gradually shines. Dark berry becomes ubiquitous, and even some of the *cheap* fruit-forward porty jazz pushes its way to the forefront, revealing a wine COMPLETELY Zinfandel–no questions about it.
Nothing excites me more on a shelf than Zin from an *unusual* or edgy producer. What did they do? What is the alcohol? How will it be? Will it be jammy and plush or spicy and structured? Will it taste like Zin from the 70’s and 80’s or will it be a current *mainstream* version? And when it comes from Paso, many other stops are poised upon. To be clear: this is only a Paso Robles PRODUCER. The fruit is from Arroyo Grande Valley, a sub-text of the variety 40 miles South, many climates different, and light-years away in style. Added to the questions is WHY would an established Paso producer NOT select fruit nearly synonymous with “Paso Robles” from an AVA nearly unknown? I’ve told you many times you NEED to taste through the Field Recordings bottlings over at the far end of the counter–the not-so-common ones. This is one of those rare birds.
Tasting it solidifies the simple facts of Zinfandel. Lush and chubby, no mistaking the variety, big dark dense cherry preserves stewed down into a tincture cautiously approaching prune… touching it… bouncing back off… never quite landing firmly in that arena. Thank Dog. Chunky monkey lollipop dangles over a grating tannic middle, acid causing the mind to reel and the tongue to curl, clean, beautiful fruit all the way until a sledgehammer of structure slams the door shut. American oak pepper is a perfect match for this wine, and the whole package screams of a well-thought-out winemaker-goal.
It works. It totally fucking works. If I were to give a speech on Zinfandel to the world and had only ONE wine to pour, I think this might be it. It is the best of all worlds and does the variety proud.
2018 FIELD RECORDINGS Zinfandel Arroyo Grande Valley San Luis Obispo Co. 14.9