Moar Paicines, plz

Medium ruby with purple edges.  Huge minty nose blows off fairly quickly into a deep–but not overripe fruit, middle-eastern spices with a background of wet cardboard and AL.  Thinnish on entry but blossoms into fairly substantial bright fruit, good balance and ample tannin.  This is SO young.  But what ‘claret’ is totally supposed to be.  All five BDX varietals represented–though no blend percentages stated on label.  Cab-dominant.  Peppery and spicy telling of generous CF, Bec, and PV.  I picked it up to continue my Paicines AVA education of late.  Had some fabu wines from this little postage-stamp of an appellation East of Salinas on Hwy 25.  The Donatis are–to the best of my research–the grand-daddy farmers of this AVA.  Across the valley from SLH and North of Chalone AVA and Arroyo Seco and all that.  I am sure this wine would settle down a bit with a couple years under its belt and probably will polish into something far more enjoyable than it is now.  This is not a terrible wine.  It is a solid, balanced meritage with just a few very rough edges.  Props to the winemaker for not succumbing to making a “perfectly yummy” red wine at age 3. You almost need to think of it as a barrel-sample.  Although I paid 20$ for it (full list is 30-ish), Donati is currently advertizing it as a ‘cellar sale’ for 150$/cs, which brings it down into serious consideration for something to stash away for AT LEAST another 5 years–IF you can keep your hands off it.  It has the fruit, the bright acidity and definite structure, it just has a few of those early flaw-ish nuances very common in young Bordeaux–but fashionably uncommon in California reds made in the past decade.  Sale is advertized as “Through the month of August.”  I’m not saying everyone should run out and clean up on this, just passing along the fact that, at 12$/bottle you can do WAYYYYY worse.  13-6 and  ♦

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