When faced with a challenge, what does a Winellama do? Why, rise of course!
So, my friend’s request to taste this California Zinfandel prompted a late Sunday afternoon (in between football games) trip to the liquor store. Besides, who am I to say ‘no’? I am gearing up for a trip to Napa and Sonoma in March, so why not throw in a Lodi Zin for good measure?
Being from Lodi, I do admit to a little wine snobbery here. I usually aim for more premium AVA and sub-AVA wines – Chiles Valley, Russian River, Napa, Sonoma, Alexander Valley, Carneros… Lodi hails from close to the heated powerhouse of the Central Valley, which is better known for asparagus and table grapes. Lodi does have a slightly milder Mediterranean-style climate though, and with that consideration, we will launch open-mindedly into the Klinker Brick Zinfandel.
Clear and bright, the wine is a deeply opaque ruby tinged purple and some heavy duty legs. On the nose, it’s got some good intensity with blackberry jam, cassis, Damson plum and even blueberry. There’s a little herbaceous quality too and a sweet baking spice from the oak treatment.
The palate’s (kinda) dry with good acidity and smooth and soft medium tannins. The alcohol is waaay high – at 15.8% it’s practically Port! The flavours are fruity and fresh though – dark black and ripe fruit including more blackberry, deeply ripe blueberries, boysenberry and some dried prune.
It’s complemented by a hint of sweet black licorice and some light green undergrowth. The oak lends some sweetness as well as clove and nutmeg to this wine. I wonder though – is it actually dry? The finish is average.
WSET Good – the intense alcohol and sweetness preclude it from being rated any higher. It’s unbalanced, but the fruit is full and ripe and there is a pleasant complexity with some secondary aspects shining through. Drink now, or may be kept for 1-3 years.
Photo credit: Mike Woods Photography