Undefinably Good Zinfandel

Not-crystal-clear ruby with clear edges.  Somewhat staining.  Big barnyard nose, dark and leathery but with bright woodsy notes, evergreen boughs, garam masala and oak.  Not a touch of pruneyness nor the opposite, big forward Kool-aid fruit plaguing so many Zinfandels today.  This is honestly the first Zin I have liked in a very long time.  But!  It is not the almost-cabernet-ish style I fell in love with in the 90’s.  But thank the wine-gods it is also not the fat, lifeless style which caused me to fall out of love with Zin the past decade.  This is shockingly Rhone-styled, something I have not witnessed in some time.  In the mouth, the fresh-upholstery bouquet translates to stunning acid aligning solid, positive, ripe fruit for a nearly seamlessly balanced package.  This is a 2008, and a tiny bit of polish shows in both nose and taste.  Nowhere does alcohol make an appearance–again, completely rare for modern Zinfandel.  The funky nose just woos again and again and everything translates perfectly on the palate.  Although I would stop short of calling it ‘classic zin’, it is an amazing bottle all the way out to the unforgettable–but not overwhelming–tannins.  It would be really fun to toss this into a blind Syrah tasting as I think even experienced tasters would be perplexed at both its nose and mouthfeel.  A dry-farmed Grenache, perhaps?  Is it varietally correct?  It definitely does not fit the profile of *classic* or *modern* Zinfandel.  I feel we have deviated so far from the classic profile of Zinfandel with both our 16-5 offerings which are so common-place and our funky thin Primitivos that nailing down a Classic Zinfandel (especially outside of Dry Creek Valley or Sonoma County in general) becomes very difficult.  This one definitely does not fit but it is a GOOD wine.  Defying type-casting but solid and balanced.  13.4

http://www.ambullneovineyards.com/

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