View From the Cellar - John Gilman, July/August 2014


2012 Nalle Vinum Clarum (Ninety Percent Zinfandel) Dry Creek Valley-

The 2012 Nalle Vinum Clarum contains a ten percent blend of carignane and petite sirah to go along with its zinfandel component, with the vintage coming in at a cool 12.8 percent alcohol. The wine offers up a lovely and vibrant bouquet of raspberries, bonfires, black cherries,lovely soil tones, a bit of pepper, lavender, dried eucalyptus and lovely spice tones in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, bright and complex, with a fine core of fruit, a bit of backend tannin and a long, tangy finish. This is fine juice that is eminently drinkable out of the blocks, but will probably be even more interesting with a couple of years of cellaring.

2014-2025. 90.

2012 Nalle “Dry Creek Valley” Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)

Since I first got to know Doug Nalle’s wines back in the latter half of the 1980s, I have always liked them for their traditional styles and excellent quality, and though a stretch of vintages went by when I did not have the opportunity to taste them regularly, I have always found them to be amongst the most consistent zinfandels produced in California these days. The 2012 Nalle Zinfandel includes nine percent each of petite sirah and carignane and tips the scales at a very civilized 13.5 percent alcohol in this vintage, offering up a classic nose of brambly raspberries, garrigue, lovely spice tones, a fine base of soil, a bit of venison and a topnote of woodsmoke. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still quite primary, with a lovely core, fine focus and balance, moderate tannins and a long, tangy and promising finish. This is still early days for this fine bottle, and I would be inclined to tuck it away in the cellar for three or four years to allow its secondary layers of complexity to start to emerge. It is quite drinkable today, but the real fireworks will come when it has had a chance to blossom with bottle age.

2017-2035. 92+.