Brown Like Me

First of all NO I did not make this wine, no relation, and as I understand it, there’s no actual *McConnell* involved in the winery, it is named for the historic property or something. Literally brown-orange in the glass. To call this bricking is either a compliment or an insult to bricks–I’m not sure what. This thing is BROWN. I’ve seen 30YO cab redder than this. Aged and beautiful in the nose–not NEAR as pruney as I thought–actually not pruney at all. Root beer and sharp briar join a dirty cherry wave, pee-stained leather and sweaty flannel adding tiny acrid savory tones to all the tertiary. It’s a little vegetal–a sure sign of fading fruit or imbalance in the face of aging. It is an interesting bouquet, full of coffee and bourbon, sour vanilla and aged beef.

Tasting it confirms the non-pruniness. Despite the color and variety, this thing’s holding up quite nice, a beautiful smooth middle-ground of plush acid and bristly briar carrying the not-overwhelming fruit of the entry to magnificent heights. Clean and purposeful, it’s all cranberry and tart cherry on entry–gracious oak noticeable–and remains COMPLETELY un-jammy, with the fruit swelling to deep, sweet, much riper proportions into the finish, where the bitter bristle of tannin has polished to mere crunchy velvet.

I didn’t expect a wine so beautiful from consideration of the variety vis-a-vis its appellation and observation in the glass. But here it is. What are we going to chalk this up to? Wonderful fruit? A perfect vintage? Talented winemaker? Or low alcohol? Take as long as you need.

2012 MCCONNELL ESTATES Zinfandel Wackman Ranch Lodi 13.9

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