I’m very picky about my Paso Zin–for reasons *most* of you understand, but manages to cause a lot of head-scratching for the un-initiated. It’s going to be ripe–that’s just a given–but it needs to pull distinct varietal characteristics out without singing to the syrup-gods the *Drink What You Like* crowd fawns over. This one is pale garnet in the glass, and headed into 4 years, it feels like age is perhaps not on its side. Blind, I’d probably guess a wine several years older. Still, there’s a green vibrancy buried under the surface of chubby ripeness and slight maderization which enlivens and brightens things and I’m filing the whole situation under “Zinfandel”. Rich blackberry, cinnamon and coffee-berry teeters on slight glimpses of sweet oak.

In the mouth, delicious and dry, brilliant acid and early pepper sharpen lots of things this variety constantly needs sharpening with. The berry a sour cherry–headed cranberry–but Christmas pomegranate and pie-spice evoke holiday elegance and yummy depth. A grating beast near the finish: raspy and rough over its thin countenance lacking any heat or sugar sediment. It honesly feels more like the PS and Mourve-addled bottomless sands of old-vine CCC or Clarksburg than Paso–and that’s a GOOD thing. Bangin stuff.

2018 FERGUSON FAMILY WINERY ‘The Phoenix’ Zinfandel Paso Robles 14.5

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