Appellation America(2005 Vintage) I was not familiar with this vineyard or this program when I tasted the wine (blind as always), but upon learning its origin I ruminated on a quality of this wine that I do know about: the palate of John Parducci, father of winemaker Rich Parducci and a kind of winemaker emeritus for all of Mendocino County. His palate comes from another generation, and it’s one that I appreciate for its Italian-inflected, food-friendly acidity and refreshing quality (in reds and whites). Rich now manages the deft act of balancing his dad’s approach with today’s taste for rich, ripe, fully extracted reds that are soft on the palate. This wine is a good example of how well this can work. The grapes come from the Berry family’s Cononiah Vineyard on Talmage bench: a warm but not sizzling upland slice of southern Ukiah Valley. The vines are head-trained (no trellising) like in John Parducci’s heyday, but planted in the 1980s so they’ve benefited from the viticultural advances of recent decades. In the glass, the aromas of raspberry and cherry are so thick the air feels fuzzy. In your mouth the wine delivers instantly recognizable Zinfandel character, with a clear emphasis on smoothness all around; the texture and structure have no edges, and even the flavors blend smoothly. While there’s plenty of ripe red cherry and licorice sweetness, there’s no excessive ripeness or "cooking," just a purely pleasurable drinking experience. The wine finishes clean and refreshing for all that. Good work, guys.