Even Sense

From up in the high desert north of Los Angeles comes this Neenach Ranch Tempranillo, achieving Napa or Santa Barbara-style ripeness and decadence even though it’s from 3000 feet up on the arid plains of Antelope Valley. Mind-bogglingly concentrated, with generous oak treatment, this is wine for people wanting a bottle that will draw oohs and aahs from the crowd from its position as center-point–perhaps even being the MEAL itself.

It pours dense black-purple with a touch of blue at the only transparent part of the wine: the out-most rim. Nose crammed with delicious sweet and caramelized vanillin oak, molasses cherry and brown-sugar blackberry have no trouble reaching around for compelling observation: such is their decadent energy. Woodsy shavings of nutmeg and cinnamon cascade off the bouquet, with viscous clay-sorta earthy under-pinnings. Before I turned the label around, I figured it was cab, though a grainy vegetal and grape-jelly hint had me searching for appropriate varieties. I never guessed Tempranillo, and if you enjoy the blingy heights of Iberian reds, put this bottle in the line-up. Decanted after first sniff.

I’m a huge fan of Parador Cellars in Napa, though they somewhat fly under the radar, as it’s rare to see on a shelf and marketing non-existent. This is the ONLY thing in California I have tasted even coming CLOSE to Parador’s remarkable massaging of Tempranillo and oak in a decadent new-world style. Supple and delicious, raspingly dry and acidicly etching, the ripe concentration of the fruit a stark counterpoint to obvious structure. 1/4 Paso Petite Sirah, a quantity which should be obvious, but merely disappears in the texture, though I’m sure contributions exist. Personally, I’d love to see this as a straight Temp. The wine actually gets YOUNGER with air, the sluttiness (yeah, it’s pretty fucking slutty–I’ll be honest) of fruit and oak reclining behind abrasive–and welcome–complexities of texture. I don’t recommend aging very often on highly-extracted, hi-alc and oaky wines, but I feel this one can go the long run.

2017 BYRON BLATTY ‘Evenfall’ Temp/PS/ME 73/25/2 Los Angeles County 15.5


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