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2009 McCay Cellars “Jupiter” Zinfandel

The Mokelumne River AVA is central within the larger Lodi AVA.  Old-vine Zinfandel is more prominent there than in the other nested AVAs of Lodi. Its deep, well-drained Tokay Sandy Loam is well-suited to Zinfandel and also keeps phylloxera at bay, allowing the vines to thrive for decade after decade.

The Jupiter Vineyard is located in the eastern portion of the Mokelumne River AVA. That side is a bit farther from the cooling influence of the Delta and produces the style most people consider “classic Lodi Zinfandel.” The vines used in this wine from McCay Cellars are around 40 years old, not the region’s most venerable but more than old enough to provide old-vine concentration and complexity.

The 2009 McCay Cellars Jupiter Zinfandel has a character that newcomers to McCay’s style might find surprisingly savory. Winemaker/Proprietor Michael McCay picks earlier than many of his colleagues, relies on native yeast fermentation and uses only French oak barrels, just a small percentage of which are new. The resulting wines tend to be more nuanced and offer a wider range of flavors than might otherwise be the case.

There are plenty of huckleberry and chocolate aromatics in McCay's 2009 Jupiter Zinfandel, but also a lot of cola, herb and tobacco. In the mouth, the wine starts out creamy with medium+ body. Gradually, lightly chalky tannins reveal themselves and, along with noticeable acidity, help to balance the rich red fruit and alcohol. There is a broad spectrum of delicousl flavors, including sour cherry, raspberry, cola, oak, tangy spice, mocha and forest floor which weave around each other for a generous finish. The 2009 McCay Cellars Jupiter Zinfandel is a complex and tasty old-vine Zinfandel with enough flavor and richness to stand on its own, but also the restraint and structure to compliment a nice meal. Drink now through 2015. Highly Recommended.

For more on McCay Cellars see my profile of the winery, including a video interview with Michael McCay.

2009-McCay-Cellars-Jupiter-Zinfandel2009 McCay Cellars “Jupiter” Zinfandel
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: now - 2015
Bottling Date: November 11, 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: 449 cases
Retail Price: $28.00

Winemaker: Michael McCay
Origin: Jupiter Vineyard, eastern Mokelumne River AVA, Lodi
Fermentation: Indigenous yeasts in large bins, manual punch down, malolactic fermentation in barrel
Aging: 26 months in French oak — 22% new, 33% twice or thrice used, 45% neutral
Alcohol: 14.7%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not required
Temperature: 58º - 62º F
Food Pairings: Seared duck breast on beluga lentils or smoked baby back ribs with a savory dry rub

The wine above was provided by the winery for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.