Crystal garnet, non-staining. A ubiquitous oak but really more delicate in tensile strength–like something picked at 22-23 and fermented in redwood. Smokey spice rife throughout, never cloying, not a speck flabby, SOOOO unlike most Zinfandels since about 1995. Still and calm, showing gobs of rich fruit but none of the bullshit tourist ridiculousness befalling almost ALL of the Zinfandel offerings of the past 2 decades.
See boys and girls, THIS is how you make Zin. I’m guessing hi-14’s and having flashbacks to the late-80’s and early 90’s before Zin took a disastrous turn for stupidity. Do any of you remember Zinfandel in the 90’s? Back when the grape pronounced itself properly in plump fashion, had acids and tannins to prove infinitely ageable, and yet showed a World-class definition alongside Cabs and Merlots from the finest–usually Italian–producers in St. Helena, Howell Mountain, and Sonoma?
In the mouth, a little one-dimensional, mixing burnt carpet and egregious tannin early on with abrasive dorm-room funk charming and virile. This is Zinfandel. You CAN’T compare it to Cab. The 70’s are OVER, and it needs to speak as its own variety. A bit hollow on the palate–grasping for definition but churning out body and pepper–it produces clear varietal distinction while exemplifying young awkwardness. Quite possibly the Zinfandel Of The Year.
2012 ROBERT CRAIG Zinfandel Black Sears Vineyard Howell Mt. Napa Valley 14.8