Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bearish On ZInfandel

Beran owner and winemaker Joseph Wagner is a fifth generation California wine person, carrying on the family tradition passed down to him from his dad Chuck. Already the originator of Belle Glos and Meiomi, his Copper Cane Wines and Provisions has that millennial ring to it. Beran is under that umbrella. Director of Winemaking John Lopez grew up knee deep in grapes, too.

These grapes of California's heritage variety came from all over the Napa Valley. They were grown high on Atlas Peak and down on the valley floor in Calistoga. Some old vine Petite Sirah is in the mix, as well.

The winery headlines its website with "Strength, conviction, Zinfandel." It’s a stance that Zinfandel drinkers appreciate, the ones who look at Zin the way Texans look at the Alamo. Aging took place in French and American oak barrels over the course of a year. The Beran's alcohol level is super-ripe at 15.4% abv, and the retail price is $48.

The Beran Napa Valley Zinfandel 2012 is inky black, with no light getting through at all. The nose is deep and black - blackberries, blueberries, cassis, tar, leather - it's rich. But when the sip hits the tongue it's amazing. That dark fruit gets a nice treatment from the oak and displays wonderful spice notes. There's more than just vanilla at work - pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, the whole rack fell into the cask, it seems. The tannins are plenty firm enough for pairing with grilled meat, but the wine, as if it is showing off, is smooth.