Ribbon on a Hog

Two wines with a lot in common at the opposite ends of the Paso Robles *rhone* spectrum. Wineries like this always dot burgeoning wine-country, and get pushed out as quality goes mainstream and the clientele gets smarter. Can’t really think of too many left in Napa-Sonoma, also drawing a blank on Santa Barbara wine country, but are plentiful starting in San Luis Obispo county and all the way up the far coast into Mendocino–then back down the foothills on the other side. Tiny little mom & pop operations; taste in the cellar; a wall of State Fair ribbons; very vocal and loyal club/fan-base–and NEVER sophisticated palates.

The SARZOTTI is a roily beast, all pickle-juice and burnt rubber. Smelling firmly roasted and dead with a sharp infusion of acid from a bag. Pruney cherry trickles from bad vinegar, musty tropical mélange and canned black olives in a nose dedicated to triggering gag-reflexes from the VA to the moldy cardboard–a bit of A1 Sauce sandwiched in the middle, Steamy cartoon-curdle-waves rising above in not just the imagination.

The heat replacing non-existent fruit hits you first. Dull and flaccid in all parts, shockingly fake acidity sharply burns all sensors. Nothing redeeming to find, an absolute train-wreck of a wine even worse in the mouth than the horrible label could possibly hint at. Nothing like this should ever be put in a bottle, although they are very proud. The finish of micro-waved food and melted Saran-Wrap stirs more burn inside a sweaty boot.

2015 SARZOTTI VINEYARD Syrah Paso Robles 14.1 https://sarzottiwinery.com/

The NERELLI is the opposite beast. Gaggingly intense lily and rose floral goes hand-in-hand with fruit-fly-kissed port and steamy VA. So ridiculously stupidly sweet-smelling, the sweltering ripe fruit is obvious–but at what cost? Chocolate cake and meringue coat Hawaiian Punch syrup with a strong back-beat of what I suppose could be considered “briar” but comes of closer to wet sawdust.

All Zinfandel-ly in the mouth, fruit a jammy affair–a puree of tinned frozen berry blend dark and sweet with plentiful corrections of oak. Thick, chokingly rich and amateurish, it does dry off nicely late-middle where copious tannins manifest. A poster-child for boutique examples of the region and a wet dream for most Paso wine-tasters.

2014 NERELLI Generation 4 PS/SY/GR 37/32/31 Paso Robles 15.3 https://zinalley.com/

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