Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006
Outpost is a lauded producer from the Napa Valley AVA Howell Mountain. Howell Mountain is one of the most respected sites in the valley, and it has built a reputation for being able to produce unique zinfandel and petite sirah wines due to the elevation and cooler temperatures. I was frankly expecting a lot from this zinfandel, especially since previous vintages were spoken of so highly by many I respect. Unfortunately, while this is still tasty, I fear it suffers from what Gary Vaynerchuck has come to call the “oak monster” – there is simply too much oak on this wine for the fruit to truly shine.
Despite that, the nose gave up focused fruit – fresh raspberry and cherry – along with black pepper, cinnamon and a little briar or underbrush. To be honest, the nose was immensely promising and did not give a hint of what was to come on the palate. The palate was very peppery to begin with, but ended up with lots of baking spice, creamy cherry, and a bunch of vanilla and richness. The wine has good body, good structure, and is really very well made. However, it just loses out on its opportunity to truly excite with the heavy oak, and probably heavy lees stirring given the overly creamy texture. It’s too bad as I have been looking for a zinfandel to rival Brown Estate’s, and thought this might to the trick. Unfortunately, it did not. Some will enjoy, but not worth the hype.
$45 at Dean and Deluca in St. Helena