When you think about all the *weird* varieties you carry a torch for, what comes up? 30 years ago, I was the poster-child for Zinfandel, but that ship has sailed. Albarino? Gewurztraminer is a subject I never get tired of discussing. Petite Sirah? Mourvedre has gained mainstream attraction so it’s kinda off the table… Petit Verdot bottled alone can run interesting to weird… Counoise has established itself as a new-kids sorta light, fresh grape from heritage vineyards so doesn’t really count. That leaves Tannat. What do you do with Tannat? It doesn’t blend perfectly into Rhone or cal-ital or BDX… for decades a tiny field-blend component of Zin but do you even Tannat, bro? I love this grape.
Impenetrable black in the glass, a nose so floral and alive, dredged through cinnamon and Christmas-spice origins but still pulling ridiculous dank fruit into the nostrils. This one is glycerin-ey and rather polished. I think one expects near-rash unforgivability when dealing with PS or Tannat, but here it comes off rather elegant. Etchingly dry in bouquet, savory instincts dull themselves in the nose to fruit-obfuscation. But it’s there. We don’t have a lot of safe place-marks for this variety, here it’s just rich and wonderful.
Tasting it exposes oneself to the raspy dearth of beauty true wine-lovers expect from a wine difficult to pigeon-hole. Rather rotund, but the fleshiness is a kind of beauty you are fascinated with in its unobtainability and friendly out-of-your-league attraction. Girl-next-door makeup-less and pony-tailed, it will scruff you up and punch you in the face when you least expect it. The bitter etch of the variety can NOT go un-mentioned, but smoky deliverance along rich blackberry lines are a punching-point defining deliberation. I know this isn’t a blingy wine–or variety–but seriously it needs another decade to show itself. Probably almost unmarketable because people just plain DON’T GET IT (the best wine LEDGE ever made was a tannat which they couldn’t sell and cancelled) but followers of my blog are a different breed. The tannin will rip your guts out and the fruit is a layer difficult to explain, but there it is. Tannat in a nutshell.
2018 CIRCLE B VINEYARDS Tannat Paso Robles 13.3