Hopper Fly

This is probably Thacher’s least-geeky wine, an inexpensive screw-top advertising Paso’s classical–but fading–main event: ZINFANDEL. Clear, translucent ruby with pink-purple edges. Smoky, VERY earthy nose packed with dusty perfume: tropical spice, roasted apple and throughout, the glow of kiwi and dank cherry–a rich black, finely-measured version unmistakably Zin, but with vegetal hints and nary a drop of cloyingly jammy fruit as is almost de rigueur in regional versions. There’s a cool, calm, stony-granite subtlety and sophisticated structured under-pinnings to the berry in the bouquet reminding me of St. Helena or Howell Mt. or early Ridge.

In the mouth, the easy brilliance continues. Magnificent fruit: a cascade of ripe blackberry, mulberry and clove fills every corner of the palate, black and rich in delicate doses–light and clairvoyant in spirit, fresh and alive, elegant on its feet while stunning and brilliantly packed with flavor. Balanced to absolute perfection, it manages to play the *Zinfandel* card deftly and sexily, never stooping to the ‘jam & vodka’ of ridiculous macerated obfuscation of texture. I guessed this OVER one full point below its stated ABV–and that tells you a LOT. A backbone of laid-back structure thickens its grip, and I am wondering if it is 100% Zin, without being boosted–in another nod to classical Zins–by thicker varieties. Tannins are gently encapsulated in the body as to be almost ignorable, and the finish runs off sweet, luscious fruit for nearly ever. It drinks casually–but pointedly–well-meaning and direct without grandiose dreams or obtuse edges. A very nice version of Zinfandel.

Buy a case and drink one a year. But good luck keeping your hands off it.

2019 THACHER VINEYARD Zin/PS/AB 83/9/8 Paso Robles California 15.1


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