All In

Such fun wines. Paydirt originally started as a Zinfandel-only project in Paso Robles, eventually moving to Napa and adding a smattering of other varieties from all over–hence the “California” labeling. I really like Zin stiffened up with a few other things–not just PS–and here it turns what could be a characteristically flabby wine into something with some backbone. Dark, clear ruby right out to the rim; warm, California muddiness dances around toasty briar and sharp berry. Fruit runs deep blackberry to ripe plum, not a bit supermarket-fruit-FWD or red-blend-slutty, maintaining solemn appearances and solid red-wine stamina with a little wild-west playfulness.

Tasting it gets the mind wandering as to ‘place’. On one hand it feels like Paso, but dialed back a hair. There are aspects of Lodi–or even foothill–glimmering here and there, along with old-vine patina smacking of Contra Costa County or even Dry Creek. I’m going to guess the Zin-quotient substantially north of half, and alcohol rubbing up against 15. The fruit is full and rich: quite a bit beyond what I would normally call “ripe black cherry”, it’s more of a “blackberry you can’t pick without squishing” or “blackberry on heroin”. A huge brambly-brush streak–coated in chalky dryness–appears late-entry, invigorating the entire mouth-feel with brash–but swollen–structure smacking of Mourvedre iced with Cab. Nectarine and blood-orange sweeten the oak-leaf tea, and bit of peppery heat touches both the bouquet and tannic finish.

Nicely done, and I can’t wait to read the ingredients. I double-dogg DARE you to find a better red blend in California for 20 bucks.

2019 PAYDIRT ‘Going for Broke’ Zin/Prim/PS/SY/GR/MV/Cab 70/16/6/2/2/2/2 California 14.8

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