2008 Starry Night Winery Alexander Valley Zinfandel ‘The Caboose’

Mission Codename: The Night Caboose

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: After more than a one year absence from our pages, return to Operative favorite, Starry Night Winery. Operatives have been clamoring for a big, juicy and delicious Alexander Valley Zinfandel, worthy of their exacting tastes. Secure the maximum allotment of their newest Caboose Zinfandel.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Starry Night Winery

Wine Subject: 2008 The Caboose Zinfandel

Winemaker: Todd Graff

Winery Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Napa Valley Zinfandels, which are characterized by their big, extracted flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep ruby hues, with solid coloration from core to the edge of the glass. After swirling this pretty wine, two levels of thin, wine-colored tears move slowly down the glass. After this first unique round of tears falls, a third round appears higher up on the glass wall, before crawling slowly downward.

Smell – Dark and lush with a heady rush of spiced black cherry candy, blackberry, raspberry and sweet red plum. When the wine opens up, after some hearty swirling, it brings forth dried fall leaves, cracked light leather, blueberry, Bing cherry, soft spice and black pepper.

Feel – Initially light and soft, the wine gains a little weight and complexity as it settles onto the palate. Ripe tannins and a medium bright acidity frame the fruit beautifully. Gradually, the wine gains some texture and takes on a softly dry, softly chewy texture.

Taste – Dark and super delicious with bold dark mixed berries. Blackberry, spiced cherry take the lead. These are followed by dark strawberry, bramble, dried green tobacco leaf, dusty earth, dried fall leaves, brown spice and a hint of black pepper at the end.

Finish – Black and red fruit flavors linger for a very long time, gradually giving way to complex earthy notes with lovely hints of spice and pepper that punctuate the ending. A softly dry and softly chewy feel persist after the fruit and spice have faded.

Conclusion – Oh, how we’ve missed Starry Night Winery. Our Operatives went absolutely bonkers for the 2007 vintage of this wine, but today’s 2008 The Caboose Zinfandel is so much better. On first sniff, we could tell we’d love this wine, and as it opened up, it really began to shine. Aromas became far fuller and more rich, with a more authentic quality to the fruit. On the palate, ripe tannins and the balanced acids drive lush fruit to the far corners of the mouth. This juicy wine is balanced, delicious and just plain fun to drink. Starry Night continues to impresses us. Known particularly for their Zinfandels, today’s wine is a shining example of their winemaking prowess.

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