2008 Storybook Mountain "Mayacamas Range" Napa Valley Zinfandel
Wine & Spirits
*100 Best Wines of 2011* There's something about the way zin ripens in the east-facing hills north of Calistoga that appeals to me in my gut as much as in my brain. It has the freshness of blackberries picked on a hike in Point Reyes. That wild berry flavor tinges toward brighter fruit, layering vibrant strawberry, tart raspberry and cracked black pepper into a savory Napa Valley red. Yum may not be a technical term, but I wrote it twice in a 20 wine tasting, once for this wine and again for Storybook's Antaeus (reviewed on page 69). Balanced, sophisticated and elegant, this gains with air and would be delicious with simple roast leg of lamb.
Pure and persistent black-berry fruit is the driving force of this deep, very well-balanced wine, and those who would argue that California Zinfandel is all overripe and top heavy need to think again. As usual, Dr. Seps has come up with a very solid, well-structured wine that shows nary a hint of fat. It finishes on a firm note with grippy tannins commending at least a few years of age, and, given the winery track record, we would not be surprised if it improves and holds for a good many more.
Mountain-grown fruit gives this wine an exceptional intensity and purity of flavor. Tastes like the essence of blackberries, sprinkled with black pepper, anise and cocoa. As rich as it is, the finish is perfectly dry. Thereís a rusticity to the texture, but thatís why Zinfandel is Zinfandel. Drink over the next six years, especially with barbecue or fine roasted meats and root vegetables.