Dry Me A River

When I jammed my nose into this at first I instantly said, “Zinfandel.” I hadn’t read the label and this brand names everything strangely, and didn’t remember what it was from when I bought it. It has a big fat plum/prune ripeness and chubby floral on initial that screams Zin. Fortunately, it blows off quickly, and the ripe cherry and blackberry briar of Syrah start really showing. Green and stemmy, it is a Sonoma Coast version for SURE, and ridiculously young: nice dark purple-blue with a bright pink edge. Earthy tobacco and sweaty leather form a shallowly-dark foundation for the bright berry, and that’s about it.

I remember why I bought this. I buy every Arroyo Seco syrah I find. Hell, I buy basically every Arroyo Seco wine besides Chardonnay I see. Arroyo Seco is Chardonnay country–and it makes AWESOME chardonnay. But there’s other things growing there, and I always seek them out.

Drinking it is a pantomime of tiny incrementals. Green and harsh, it somewhat lacks fruit. Watery and bland, the structure takes over almost immediately, and whatever fleeting fruit is there, is bogged down in pomegranate seed and rose-hip astringency. No spice, no floral, no complexity, there’s a dark decadence lurking beside the mind-boggling acid and tannin, crafting a gritty, paint-removing liquid you have to look hard to find redeeming merit in. STUPIDLY young, if you approach it as a barrel sample, I suppose you could rationalize it could settle down with some maturity.

Call me in 5 years, but I don’t think that is this label’s demographic. Nobody who buys Field Recordings is gonna sit this one out for the long run, and I suspect the tannin will LONG outlast whatever fruit is in it.

2019 FIELD RECORDINGS ‘Zabala’ Syrah Arroyo Seco Monterey Co. 12.9


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