Pale garnet with wide ambering edges. Extremely thin. A nose at once sharply balsamic and edgily rustic. Candied to a point, and then the vast expanse of old-vine takes over, bringing its dirty, grainy version of syrupy hangover with it.
This thing just REEKS Contra Costa County. I have been a vocal proponent of CCC for decades, and it regularly gets overlooked, but the Zinfandel, Carignane, and Mourvedre produced in this bottom-land surrounded by delta are not only distinctive, but exemplary. Vines well over 100 years old are common, and much of it is dry-farmed and head-trained. There are other varieties grown in CCC of course, but these are the stalwarts which stand out in my memory. There are not a lot of prominent wineries in CCC, and most of my exposure was hatched by Cline in the late 80’s. I honestly did not notice “Contra Costa County” on the label of this wine but started checking as soon as I smelled it. This particular bottling is not going to match the density and concentration of most CCC wines, but the texture is all there–even in this light, low-alcohol form.
In the mouth, beautiful full fruit is tempered instantly by a roiling structure. At once pretty and flaccid–and the next burning with watery tannin over a middle of artichoke bitter. But throughout, a stream of straight-forward rusticity–a place-mark to early California winemaking–even in this thoroughly hipster interpretation. It never gets bogged down, it never gets too flabby, although nods to warm valley summers and dull salty slough outings are apparent. It manages to retain a brightness through all its history, melding the two perfectly.
2016 DEUX PUNX Mourvedre Contra Costa County California 12.2