Dark core with bright crimson rim; vanilla, dark cherry, smoke, blackberry, blueberry, not jammy; nice sweet berry, big, ash, smoky, structured, long finish ending with spice, no obtrusive alcohol even though the label says 16.2%; very serious Zin.
This is as much breed and pedigree that New World wine gets. A California classic, unique to its terroir in the Mayacamas Mountains and from vines dating back to the 19th Century. This is California treasure, never mind Croatia and Puglia, there is nothing quite like it: Big, rich, bold, brambly, spicy, of port-like intensity and skullrattling power--but it finishes dry. This bottling is heavy on the oak and a bit hot on the finish, but that is just its youth showing (have you tried the 2011 Vintage Ports?). A little reminiscent of the magnificent Black Chicken, but not jammy and far more power, style and complexity. If you had to take just one truly unique American wine to Europe to show off to friends, this would be it.
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