Back to Basics

Back to basics, and when I say *basics*, I know this will be out of the wheelhouse of almost ALL self-acclaimed Zin-freaks, and even for hardcore old-timers raised on pithy, bright Cal-Ital versions from Sonoma and St. Helena, Mendo and the Central Valley, this will probably raise eyebrows for its brightness, raw intensity and low alc. Daringly bottled in flint, the florescent blue-purple rim quickly darkens to murky impenetrable depths. Chalky briar fills the nose, a drrrrty, raspy grasp on chilly fruit muddled with smoky leather and tobacco-stained, hard-working calluses. Cidery, bready winey-ness give hints as to the ‘natural’ or even partually carbonic nature typical of this producer.

Young and delicious in the mouth: like Zinfandel had a baby with Cru-Bojo or Napa Gamay. Shards of bitter sprite are smoothed by the typical cheeriness of the variety, but nowhere is thick, ponderous ripeness or chubby, slutty concentratin or hi-proof. Deep plum and berry round out the middle, the afore-mentioned cidery notes clamoring for attention above full fruit and resplendent acid. Black walnut and thistley-thorn immediately crown the finish, where it goes watery, cool and tannic-bitter far into vascular memory. Not sure what a half-decade or more of age would do to this; I’m fairly certain this would not go into 20-year fine Zin, Cab-like tertiary arenas: it is made to drink now. And now it drinks wonderfully.

2020 DEUX PUNX ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel Del Barba Vyd. Contra Costa Co. California 13.9

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