This wine EXUDES berry from every corner: just rich, ripe, PURE berry in amounts almost difficult to fathom. Deep crimson with a pink rim, gorgeous funky vegetal on initial pour, turning immediately to the blackest, darkest, ripest blackberry and cherry imaginable–infused with gobs of deep violet and lily floral. Grainy tanned leather and barbecue smoke cover it, but it doesn’t go syrupy-ripe or Paso-hot ANYWHERE. It maintains a pithy, cellar-floor *natural wine* European flair reminiscent in the nose of the most luxurious examples of Chinon, Cru-Bojo or even Lagrein. Quite a feat!

In the mouth, everything lines up. The fruit a chewy, dense stew, edged in steely angst and chalky dryness. The cherry a black–but pie-cherry-ish–slur, raspberry and açai 10/10 alongside muddled earth and hacked shrubbery. It’s spicy; It’s peppery; It burns with a fire inside so eager to present but carefully modulated with adolescent pangs restraining exuberance. Probably one of the most absolutely DELICIOUS wines I’ve had this year, it presents a strong example of how European a wine CAN be made in California–even from the lowly foothills of Lodi. I BEG you to find this wine and try it. There’s not a person on this earth who could say No to it. It woos and charms in ways almost beyond comprehension, with the green, bitter finish packed with balanced structural greatness. Semi blown away by this VERY inexpensive bottle.

2018 KOEHNEN WINE CO Graciano Terra Alta Vyd Clements Hills AVA Lodi California 12.5

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