Mad Duck Zinfandel 2016

The natural instinct is to lean towards the maximum…in many fields. Fastest, smallest, most expensive; the extremes interest us.

In wine this phenomenon is marked. Competition for the limit in any specific area serves the industry well by keeping interest ticking along. Think about how we look for the best value (for a given dollar amount) or the rarest (think Burgundy) or even the oldest (anything). The middle of the bell curve is where we live, but not where our imagination and desire resides.

Zinfandels are a niche example of this tendency. Producers vie to make the most overblown and BIG wines in an attempt to satisfy the edges of demand. In a way, zin is an ideal candidate grape because you can make its wine more fruity, more complex, more…just more!…because the differences between a BIG number and lesser models are clear.

Which leaves this one in no-man’s-land. As a mid- to value proposition it won’t find an enormous audience, and as a turbocharged flavor and intensity candidate it won’t win either. That, dear friends, is precisely where opportunity lies for you and me, because here’s a delicious and classic zin selling for appropriate money that gives us everything more expensive versions give, only slightly less of it. Think of it as one of those larger than life zins with the volume backed off a little.

Dark, mildly smoky ripe fruit on the nose with a distinct sweet licorice character that leads seamlessly to cola and juicy fruit on the palate, not much in the way of spice, but smooth acids and a balanced finish.