My days on the Zinfandel stump are long over, but I do occasionally dip into one. I search them out FAR more carefullyer than I did 20 or 30 years ago, and I will take the high road and say my palate has matured–though those in the back rows know the better wines have become fewer and far between. Paso Robles is the Mecca of bad Zin, but there are bright spots–still. Producers striving for classic structure and balance and eschewing the American sweet-tooth. Janell Dusi makes several of them.
Brilliant deep ruby, a nose cramming more spicy vegetal and soiled liniment moppings than pure jammy splendor. Deep herb and peat calm and enthuse, the blackberry and plum–PROPERLY–taking a back seat to these regiments. But it’s still Zinfandel–and that’s important.
This is a beautiful wine, achy and ponderously splendid in ways only this grape can achieve. Ridiculous cherry–black and tainted with urine-tanned leather and molasses-infused pipe tobacco–fill the mouth, grippy acid churning on all sides, cutting a calm path for the fruit to follow. Decadent in mouth-feel while jammily-restrained, the tannin takes little time introducing itself to the cheering crowd. Gorgeous through-and-through, the berry a magnificent blast through rough territories of mineral and greenery with nary a spot of heat to be seen. Large portions of this are gained through a classic Italian field-blend, where we have all learned the time-honored additions of PS and Carignan make GREAT Zinfandel. It’s nice to see an appreciation for this in these modern times of fruit-FWD stupidity.
2015 J. DUSI ‘Fiorento’ Zin/PS/CG 60/30/10 Dante Dusi Vyd Paso Robles California 14.8