If you were to come back as a vine, Jerry Seps’s steep hillside vineyard would be a pretty tempting place to put down roots. His vineyard faces north toward Mount St. Helena and east toward the Palisades—not a house or a road in sight, only trees, meadows and craggy rocks left by the volcano. Ideally, you’d come back as a Zinfandel vine. The vineyard’s cool morning sun and volcanic soils grow Zin with racy energy, a sensation that’s captured beautifully in this 2013. With air, the wine transforms all of its blueberry flavor, peachy red fruit and youthful oak into something finer, opening over the course of several days toward mouthwatering flavors of fresh-picked black raspberries and bright, rustic mineral notes that seem patterned after the volcanic rock.
Here, once again, structure and balance trump outgoing fruit, and, even though its focus is unwaveringly true to Zinfandel's berries and spice, this firmly balanced, tight-fisted youngster pulls its fruity punches a bit and winds up on the dry, slightly sere side at the finish. It is neither as deep nor as well-filled as its 'Eastern Exposures' siblings, but, like the same, it is not a wine to be drunk down in haste, and it wants to be held for another three to five years.
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