A surprise right out of the neck. I’m going to call this light garnet. No, maybe medium garnet–I mean, it’s not Pinot, and I’ve seen Grenache’s lighter–but it is transparent and after some deliberation and different lights and backgrounds, I am eschewing ruby in favor of garnet. Burnt wax and pruney briar initial, transitioning to baked nutmeg and apple pie, bread dough and the distinct gun-metal flesh of pure Zinfandel fruit. Decanted hard.
I’m just going to put an official stop to my usual rant in this sandwich about shocking wines from Lodi. It has ran out of steam. I’m sure there are still bullshit wines being made in Lodi–hell, EVERY region has them–but beautiful, well-crafted, balanced, ripe-on-the-light-side, moderate alcohol wines are pouring out of this place so hard right now, you have to be an idiot to miss them. And although I DO select carefully, NONE of the old things I kinda side-stepped Lodi for are coming my way. I could name 5, probably 10 wineries off the top of my head right now crankin out streamlined, world-class stuff from Lodi, and if you expand that parameter to the entire Central Valley and Sierra Foothills, that number easily triples. So I am going to officially retire the *OMG another shocking Lodi producer* verbiage.
In the mouth, ridiculously clean and bright attack, grainy and dense as it is with rocky soil and creamy acidity. The interesting thing about this wine is: it goes down around the tongue dark and sultry, and then explodes over the middle in a searing streak of strawberry fresh-fruit pangs, tweaked with broken laurel leaves and cold tea. Everything settles calmly back down into a bitter back seat of staccato tannin and juicy dry burn.
This is a clean, tightly wound, straight-forward Zinfandel bristling with fruit and not bogged down with the concentration, pruneyness or alcohol be-falling most since about 1995. This thing smacks of the Dry Creek Valley’s and St. Helena’s of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I highly recommend it if you feel–like I do–that Zinfandel needs to be firm and structured, cleanly fruited and vibrant and not somehow granted a free pass on obesity and proof because it is the home-grape and fun to say and make puns with. Find some of this.
2014 FIELDS FAMILY WINES Zinfandel Lodi California 14.3