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What our expert thought of Sula, Zinfandel

the tasting

The Tasting

I’m sorely tempted to say that this is as red and dark as an Eighties curry house, only without the flock wallpaper!  But while it is certainly red, it isn’t all that dark: a medium ruby.  It’s also not as youthfully purple as most 2017s would be but then it is six months older than most, having been harvested in the spring.
It might not be as dark as some Zins but it certainly smells like one!  The nose is vividly fruity and immediately appealing, with lots of red berries (and a few black ones) laced with spicy scents of cinnamon and clove.  This smells ripe – there’s even a hint of kirsch – but fresh, with no dried fruits.  It seems completely unoaked, and all the better for it.
The palate makes good on the promise of the nose, with lovely juicy acidity and intense red fruit flavours: ripe red cherries and red peppers.  An iron tang, like a rusty nail, adds complexity.  It’s only medium-bodied but the flavours punch over their weight.  Tannins are so supple as to be almost imperceptible; acidity provides most of the wine’s structure.
Sweet spices and a little black pepper appear on the medium finish, where juicy acidity wins out over those gentle tannins.


The French would say this wine has great typicité: it’s really true to its grape variety.  Tasting it, I’m irresistably reminded of a good Italian Primitivo from Puglia.  Californian Zins tend to be heavier, but I prefer this unoaked style with its juicy acidity and vivid, red berry fruit.
Zinfandel clearly suits the Nashik, but clever winemaking has helped.  For a young Zin this is quite pale, suggesting that the maceration was quite gentle and the wine didn’t spend too long on its skins.  That’s paid dividends in avoiding any hard tannins, allowing the wine to be drunk young with all its primary fruit intact.
It doesn’t taste like it comes from the tropics, but its combination of food-friendly acidity, modest alcohol, soft tannin, and spicy vibrant fruit makes it the perfect partner for the food that does.

Tasting notes

medium ruby

Intensity medium

Aromas red berries (ripe cherry/kirsch, boysenberry, redcurrant), blackberry, spice (cinammon, clove)

Development youthful

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium+

Body medium

Tannins light

Intensity medium+

Flavours red fruit (ripe cherry), vegetal (red peppers), mineral (iron), spices

Length medium

Flavours as palate, sweet spice, black pepper, juicy, mouthwatering
Other notes
Appealing fruity nose, unoaked. Very slight reduction. Fruit-driven. Good typicité - v. like a good Puglian Primitivo.

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