It was a rather dreary raining evening and I found myself craving an intense, concentrated, spicy bottle, especially after recalling that the past few bottles that I had enjoyed had more of a light, refreshing disposition. I had happened upon the Downing Family ‘Fly By Night’ Zinfandel 2008 a few weeks back and was charmed by the discreet, quiet label. The Oakville region of Napa Valley is well-known for its big spicy Cabernets, and John and Tracy Downing have utilized this to the benefit of their big spicy Zinfandels. Founded in 1998 and headed by award-winning winemaker Randy Mason, Downing Family Vineyards is an artisan, organic farming practices certified, small family run estate that produces limited amounts of premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
Dark ruby in colour, aromas of lush blueberries, dark chocolate and traces of earl grey tea swirled about in my glass. Dense baked blackberry and raspberry pie flavours were laced with ribbons of caramel in the nearly full body, whilst a bright acidity pleasantly balanced each sip. Intense black pepper with hints of earthy tobacco gave way to rich vanilla and a suave, lingering cedar in the splendidly lengthy finish. Fruit forward with a well-structured spicy depth, this is a dapper, thoughtful glass that empties rather swiftly.
Produced and Bottled by Downing Family Wines, Oakville
$18 [average price online is $30]
Enjoy now thru 2014