Tasting Notes: This rich, dark, dense wine presents as dark purple-red in the glass. The bold, jammy, ripeness of the Zinfandel is well balanced with the blue-black notes of the Petite Sirah. On the nose, you are greeted with the essence of blackberry pie, black cherry, graphite and a hint of herbaceousness. On the palate, this wine is inky and thick while maintaining brightness and balance. Notes of marionberry, bramble and a hint of black pepper coat your mouth in an assertive, rich and lingering way.
AVAs: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River Valley and Livermore
Oak: 16 months in French, Hungarian and American Oak; 25% new oak
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 American Vintage Red (a blend mainly of Zinfandel with some Petite Sirah and a few other varieties) opens with baked cherries, warm blueberries and raspberry pie with touches of exotic spices, potpourri, tilled soil and rose water with a waft of incense. Full-bodied, rich and expressive, it has loads of juicy red and blue fruits in the mouth with plenty of spicy layers, framed by velvety tannins and a racy acid line, finishing long.
This is a new range of very smartly packaged and mostly keen-priced wines from Napa’s own flamboyant, gregarious and incredibly astute Burgundian-born proprietor, Jean-Charles Boisset. Linked to a recently purchased St. Helena estate and boldly renovated manor house, these wines are something more of an experience than straightforward grog. And if you’re lucky/brave enough, Jean-Charles and his team will take you to the next level of that journey, having dedicated a decadently decorated room of the newly remodeled house to each of these labels, within which guests can sample the wines and lose themselves. Confused? Not to worry. The bottles are stylish and the wines are superbly crafted at each price level, focusing on unique and very clever blends that are, somewhat in contrast to the packaging, wonderfully understated, savory and mineral in style. Perhaps against your better judgement, you’re going to fall in love with these wines. www.secretindulgence.
The California blend is the 2015 American Vintage California Red and it’s mostly Zinfandel, with smaller amounts of Petite Sirah and other varieties. It offers fabulous spice, white pepper and incense notes as well gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruit, medium-bodied richness, and a great finish. It has tons of fruit authority, notable balance and length, and will drink nicely for 5-7 years. ~91JD
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