I generally opt for Zins that are more effusively fruity than this example, a compliment to the more structured, acid driven wines that tend to be my daily tipple, but as I alluded to, I love the expression of terroir that Zinfandel is capable of. Here one senses the rugged character of the vineyards, located at altitude on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas mountain range as much as the varietal imprint of Zinfadel. Storybook Mountain Vineyards is located at the northern most reaches of Napa Valley, up past Calistoga in the far northwestern corner of the valley just before one enters Sonoma County’s Knight’s Valley district.
it’s a rugged area, not particularly well known for Zinfandel, but the combination of red, volcanic soils, eastern exposures, relatively high rainfall, and the unique motives of proprietor Jerry Seps has produced a string of success that defy Zinfandel stereotypes. Lowish alcohol, 13.5% in this case, elegance, structure, and longevity mark this wine as a benchmark among Zinfandel. An outlier in many respects, but still a benchmark, and this specific bottle is one of the greatest bottles of Zinfandel I’ve ever had. There is no reason not to call it perfect, except perhaps for the fact that this wine was better a few years ago, and the fruit profile here is more Storybook Mountain than Zinfandel, but still it is no doubt destined to be one of my wines of the year and a wine I will always remember.
So well balanced, stunning stuff, long, deep, rich but not fleshy in any way. Subtle on the nose, gaining pink spiciness, red berries, tobacco, a hint of bramble, a suggestion of blackberry. Slight chew from the tannins, perfectly balanced and integrate acidity, a long, sinewy, layered wine., This has amazing freshness for a 32 year old Zinfandel. It's elegant in a strict, old world kind of way. Like some sort of authoritarian dressed in lace. The finish just goes on and on, gaining nuance with each passing moment. The nose gains some old cedar chest, caramelized cigar box, the palate turns redder while the finish gains plummy and candied black cherry notes. One of the greatest Zins ever? Two hours later the nose is deeper and more complex, taking on some of the character of great old Bordeaux, with more prominent cedar and earthy notes layered over fruit that has taken on a more complex, wild berry - currant character with a simply stunning cigar wrapper tobacco note that is both complex and fresh. It remains fresh and energetic in the mouth, not tiring at all, in fact slowly becoming brighter with air succulent, retaining phenomenal length with great detail on the finish.
The dregs of the bottle, simply left out on the counter of night, without even a cork to protect it, shows terrific mineral notes, iron rich steely, flinty, and yet still fresh without any significant oxidation. Wow, it’s still terrific, bright, juicy, full of red berry fruit, soil tones, slightly jammy red currant fruit, fine grained, firm tannins, a little shorter than yesterday but still so delicious. Rich, youthful, detailed, and retaining a blend go elegance and strictness.