2010 Storybook Mountain "Reserve" Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel
Wine & Spirits
When Zinfandel has the elegance of a great Pinot Noir, it feels transformative. This is a delicate, airy red wine, gentle to the touch, as meaty as the purple-blue tension of the color would imply, as transparent as the ruby light that shines through the glass. The tannins set the wine apart: They seem to carry a scent of roses. Tannins in red wines from the Napa Valley are often bold, juicy, rich and powerful. In Zinfandel, you might expect them to be rustic. This wine’s tannins are, in fact, among the most refined I have tasted in any wine from the Napa Valley, achieved through the sensible and sensitive organic farming practiced by Jerry Seps at his estate in the hills above Calistoga. Zinfandel is what these red, volcanic soils were meant to grow and this 2010 Reserve may be their most remarkable performance yet. If you know anyone born in 2010, a case of this wine would make a great gift, ready by the time they turn 21.
If flirting with suggestions of milk chocolate and a wine that leans to ripeness throughout, the Estate Reserve is still a wonderfully focused, deeply fruited Zinfandel that goes straight to the varietal point. It is supple and mouthfilling, and it takes on a touch of back-end grip, but, true to its maker, it is nothing less than exceptionally well-balanced for a wine of its richness and size. While this one should grow for a decade or more given its structure and Storybook Mountain's track record for making long-aging wines, it is far from being a shy flower now, and there are those of us who will find plenty to like in the much nearer term.