Dense ruby with basically no edge, bright purple-staining. Still, warm vanilla and pie-spice inundate the bouquet, alongside ripe stewwed fruit and gentle barnyard. An argument could be made for flabby, but a balanced shrill brier keeps it edgy and on-point.
I love this wine. Let’s get that outa the way. And I don’t do weird single varieties. Of the classic Portuguese varieties, I’ve had Touriga Nacional several times but never Souzao by itself. And to think I almost declined to taste. The last time I visited Saint Amant, Tim Spencer took me around–and now his wife and son hold court, with creative new labels and still-amazing wines. My favorite of all Lodi producers, nothing has changed but the labels and a younger generation in charge. This bottling was pulled out at the end and I was done and already decided what I wanted to take home. I knew there was a good chance it wouldn’t impress me, but finally said, “Ok, I’ll taste it.” Then I stuck my nose in it and immediately my order-form began changing. One of those wines you just instantly go, “Holy wow.”
In the mouth, a depth of fruit and sweetness set all the senses on guard for an over-ripe wine, but a disarming delicateness to the vanilla–perfectly balanced with manure and chipped shrubbery smooths all fears before it turns big and bitter and piles on even more decadently rich fruit. The perceived sweetness follows the nice grating tannins out the door. It’s like Tannat meets Zinfandel–and the evils of neither came along for the ride. I keep waiting for a screw to fall out–for SOMETHING to start decomposing into obesity or oxidation–but it just keeps shining. When I guessed 14-8, I decided it not a wine I would consider keeping around for a decade, it is drinking so lusciously right NOW, why wait? But then a label-check reveals a mind-boggling THIRTEEN-FIVE and I will officially change my opinion to: Stash a few away–it probably will reward you.
2014 ST. AMANT Souzao Amador County Lodi 13.5