Clear non-staining garnet with tiny pink edges. Big forest-floor bouquet of dark rotting leaves and sauteed fungi and salty mashed potatoes. A tiny mineral note and some sweet oak. Definitely ripe stuff, but doesn’t come off cloying at all. Crisp acidity in the mouth belies the absolute chewy blackberry fruit and tannin. Purposely not looking what the alcohol is–even though with every Zinfandel in the past decade, I am scared. Nothing overtly alcoholic comes through the nose or the taste, so am quite impressed. I am going to say hi-14 based of varietal and style alone and everything is nicely balanced. Not getting any of the funky horribleness which seem to always come under the blanket-forgiveness of “Old Vine”. SOOOOO many sins are covered under an ‘old vine’ disclaimer–it’s really quite sad, because ‘old vine’ shouldn’t automatically make everybody go, “Oh, but it’s Old Vine, so…” and look the other way from a multitude of flaws. Creamy and dense with a fairly serious burnt-sugar situation, but not pruney. Burnt: like caramel or molasses splattered on the stove during reduction and burnt into a solid crispy mass. A definite hard-candy note. All-in-all a very nice zinfandel, and coming from someone who has sworn off zinfandel for over a decade, that is serious praise. The fruit is dense and concentrated and not disgusting fruit-forward bright. The structure is drying and chewy but not over-whelming. The burnt-nutmeg note in the nose and taste fault it a bit, but all-in-all a cheerful representation of some of the amazingness Lodi can still do with Zinfandel. 14-6 ♦♦
Morning-after edit: I just googled this and it’s a 15$ wine! That means it’s prob 9.99 somewhere. Dump the Cupcake, dump the Menage a’ Trois, screw Chronic and all THAT noise, take THIS to your next house-party. I don’t care if it looks troublingly like a Gallo imprint.