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Tulocay for the straight guy

[logo]Tulocay 1999 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 15%. Though this wine will unquestionably age a good deal longer, changing as it does, I’m quite attracted to its present charms…poised on a pinnacle between the boisterous fruit of youth and the textural lavishness of maturity. The berries, dark and spicy, aren’t quite so wild anymore, but neither has the wine edged into one of those realms in which it can be mistaken for a different grape, as so often happens with well-matured zinfandel. I like that stage, too, but there are other ways to get to those places. Zin of this quality (and with these qualities) is something to be cherished on its own merits. (2/10)

Tulocays walk into a bar…

[logo]Tulocay 2001 Zinfandel (Amador County) – Jeez, this is good. Full-throated black fruit, all wild vines and tangled pulp, without being over the top or tricked-up in any way. There’s tannin and acidity in the background, both lesser components but providing sufficient support for all else. Evidence suggests this will continue to age and develop for some time, with the current hints of black pepper fanning out into a wider mélange of spices and soil characteristics. (5/09)

Tulocay, three to go

[tree]Tulocay 1999 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 15%. And: wow. I remember drinking zin like this. Ridge used to make it, and then we’d let it age, and much later on it would taste like this. Rolling tumblers of soft red fruit, spice (mostly of the baking genre, though there are various hues of pepper as well), earth, cinnamon cap mushrooms, and that delicious sensation of fruit-weight so crucial to zin, but without the all-too-common burn of Scotch on the finish. Long. I’d call this at very early maturity, but with emphasis on the mature aspect. More, please. (3/09)

Big Tulocay country

Tulocay 2001 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 15.7%. Based on the color, I’d think about drinking this. Based on the palate, I’d wait. Based on the structure, I’d have to choose against Caol Ila. How to solve this dilemma? Twisted, back-country berries and black pepper-dominated spice mark the wine’s unmistakable origin, but there’s a little more heat than usual (even for often-fiery Amador zin), and a lot of spirituous invective. As a pure expression of “fuck you” Californicated aggression towards even its most spiritually native of grapes, it’s a triumphant achievement, and I honestly do admire it for that quality. I even enjoy it on those terms. As a wine in the greater world of such beverages, however, it’s a bit much. (10/08)