2018 Zinfandel (Paso Robles) by Lusso Della Terra

2018 Zinfandel (Paso Robles) by Lusso Della Terra, Fiddletown, Amador County, CA

Intense clear ruby color. Out of the bottle nose is restrained, especially for a Zinfandel with notes of straw, slightly ripe berries. That signature raisin is barely noticeable, almost nonexistent. Swirling vigorously adds ripe dark cherries, pinewood sawdust and honey beeswax. These all conspire to create a subtle anise essence. Rich. This is not your typical zinfandel.

Body is nicely balanced, greeting with a subtle acidity that lends good tension up front. This is followed immediately by a thin lightweight, dry body of blackberries and dark cherry skins. Tannins are crisp, heavily restrained and fully integrated into the body. A crisp, unobtrusive oak caramel softens this otherwise crisp, sharp body. Hints of stone fruit (especially dried apricots) linger in the distant background. Mouth feel is light, dry, smooth, especially for a Zinfandel. Midway a warm spice heat emerges and eventually dominates the entire palate. Ahhh yes, you can only tame Zinfandel so much. The palate is left fairly neutral in short order with little more than a warm spice heat from front to back and down deep into the chest.

This is a highly understated Zinfandel. It has really benefited from the more gentle climate of this region. The winemaker has done a great job of creating a very mature, classy interpretation of this varietal. In the right hands, Zinfandel can be so much more of a sophisticated wine. Nicely done Ed!

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2018 Pinot Noir by Lusso Della Terra, Fiddletown, Amador, CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir (Adelaida District, San Luis Obispo) by Lusso Della Terra, Fiddletown, Amador, CA

Ruby red color. Light bright cherry cola. Subtle damp earth. Swirling unlocks hints of red vines licorice and eucalyptus. I like it.

Body greets immediately with lots of bright fruit. Raspberries, cherries and red berries. A subtle oak further accentuates the fruit expression, and softens the body further, resulting in a soft, smooth mouth feel. Hints of banana peel emerge towards the back so faint you’d likely miss it. This marks the transition to finish as a warm spice heat emerges then intensifies through the finish. A gentle crisp tannic grip slowly tugs at the palate, alternating between wet and dry and the spice warmth creeps further down the chest.

I met up with a owner winemaker Edward not long ago. It was a rainy winter afternoon and I got to taste their eye watering lineup with Ed and assistant winemaker Clare. I like that they are up to and think they’re a great addition to the Fiddletown area. The line of bubbles deserves its own segment. It’s incredible. Great wines with a vibrant modern vibe and broad appeal. Definitely a must if you’re in the area. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ed and Clare do with the coming harvests! Nicely done Ed, Clare.

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2019 Giocoso (Red Blend, Paso Robles) by Lusso Della Terra, Fiddletown, CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Giocoso (Red Blend, Paso Robles) by Lusso Della Terra (Luxury of the Land), Fiddletown, Amador County CA

Equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Dark semi opaque color. Out of the bottle, thick nose with lots of black plum and ripe blackberry. Secondary notes of cola and crisp vanilla caramel. Tertiary notes of thin crisp anise and wet wood leather linger in the back.

Body is nicely balanced from front to back. A slightly silky, viscous body greets the palate. Unobtrusive tannins provide good structure and counterweight to crisp caramel and anise, both framing ripe plums. The more temperate climate of this region shines here as the fruit is well expressed while remaining fairly dry. Restrained acidity goes almost unnoticed. No one characteristic is off balance. The finish is characterized by subtle dry tannic grip ripe fruit, caramel. This big blend channels the Paso Robles region and its characteristic restraint quite nicely while also remaining very approachable for a broad spectrum of palate.

I caught up with Edward, owner, winemaker and Assistant Winemaker Clare, earlier this winter and had a unique opportunity to explore an eye watering lineup of their creations. He recently relocated his operations and established his estate in Fiddletown, just outside Plymouth CA. I very much look forward to following his interpretation of the terroir out here in the Sierra Foothills. Welcome to the foothills Edward and Lusso Della Terra!

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