THE lightest, most transparent Zinfandel you have seen in 20 years. Make that 30. More like 40. Clear rosy garnet out to a wide pinkish rim. Quashed, sultry nose showing a little classic Zin plumminess and a bit of oak, gorgeous Maraschino and sweet spice-cake, but all in refreshingly tiny doses. No barnyard or funk to speak of–not that you would expect much from this variety–nor briar or minerality, just rich round beauty playing hard on the Christmas spice. A little flaccid, but a great, calm bouquet headed *almost* into Pinot- or Grenache-land, going against the accepted grain of almost EVERY zin produced in California these days.
Great little BRAND NEW producer with a solid line-up of interesting varieties and label-art to DIE FOR. Probably none of these wines are going to knock your socks off, but they are all clean, direct, well-made and un-offensive, sharp edges smoothed off enough for the 99, with interesting takes the snobs can geek out on: off-the-wall AVA’s, perfect varietal typicity and a subtlety of spirit that grows in the glass.
Tasting it reinforces the abject oddity a wine of this type is in the marketplace today with a label proclaiming: “ZINFANDEL”. While this ISN’T necessarily an acid-driven, tannic, old-school cab-like wonder, it garners enough attention with the shocking color and restrained palate to cause reflection. Cool and refreshing on entry, it washes nicely over the tongue with cheery raspberry and cherry. Plentiful acid digs its heels in mid-palate, putting an abrupt stop to any fantasies of hi-octane pancake-syrup you might have bought the label for. Fruit is focused and forthright: a steady path start-to-finish of cheery berry with an obvious nod to unconcentrated clarity. Rather light over the middle, it goes roasted and dark into the finish, where tannins that may outlive the fruit reside.
While this isn’t exactly a mind-numbingly awesome version of the grape, I wish more Zins were made like this. It could re-set the horrible norm expectant of California Zinfandel these days.
2018 ABSOLUTION CELLARS Zinfandel San Antonio Valley Monterey Co. 13.9