Regarding the 2007 Jimsomare . . .
There’s a new Jimsomare in the wings, and accordingly, we’ve been receiving a great many queries about this storied, highly-anticipated, and very limited-production wine. So I decided to put some thoughts down:
To my palate, the Jimsomare has always been a quintessential expression of “Mountain Zinfandel,” and the 2007 bottling is no exception.
But what do I mean by “Mountain Zinfandel?”
As I think has now been made clear after decades of fine quality zin vintages throughout all of California’s wine regions, what used to pass for conventional wisdom regarding this varietal is no longer relevant; meaning it’s no longer appropriate to categorically dismiss California zinfandel as a mono-dimensional, overtly fleshy and fruit-forward (read: “jammy”), high alcohol, drink-it-when-its-young-and-be-done-with-it offering. Rather, zinfandel has proven itself to be a markedly flexible varietal, capable of showcasing a wide array of complexities, and a great potential for longevity and development. Accordingly, where the vines are planted, the micro-climate they grow in, and the methodologies employed in both the vineyard and the winery can have a profound effect on the character and quality of the wine. In some respects, it’s a very simple translation; Jimsomare is a very singular property, and accordingly, the Jimsomare is a very singular wine. Thus, “Mountain Zinfandel.”
Put most simply, the character of the land and the climate are such that the grapes are consistently brought to full ripening fruition courtesy of the east-side-of-the-mountain locale and the warm days, yet great and vibrant natural acidity are preserved and maintained via the mitigating factors of ocean influence and cool nights. Add to this a natural wild-yeast fermentation, and a complex interweave of green stone, clay, and limestone in the soil, and you have a heady cocktail of potential. And given that we are decidedly non-interventionist in our approach (dry-farming, head-training, hand-harvesting, natural yeast fermentations, etc.), these unique and natural characteristics are allowed to play out to their full influence. The end result is a wine that embraces a number of seeming dualities: it’s full-bodied, yet it’s elegant; it features richly compressed fruit notes, yet it has great acidity, minerality, and spice layers; it’s muscular, yet it’s balanced.
Regarding the 2007 vintage in particular, I think this is potentially one for the ages. And as such, the good news is that there is tremendous potential for long-term development here. In addition to the integration and harmonization that should ensue over the long-term, I believe the real key is indeed balance; the ’07 shows great architecture (acids balanced against tannins, fruit balanced against spice, etc.), and it’s got flavor to spare, making for an enticing structure overall that bespeaks a delicious future. The down side, if it can be said to be such, is that some patience will be required; this is not a wine to be drunk in its very early youth. That said, every month is going to reveal more and more of what this wine has on offer. My recommendation to anyone interested in this wine would be to buy at least a few bottles, so you can open them in stages, and find your own personal Jimsomare “sweet spot.”