Storybook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The cool eastern exposures of a volcanic hillside overlooking Mt. St. Helena produced this gold standard of Napa Valley red wine. Tastings Editor Corey Warren described its scent as California forest, citrus, blackberry and herb. That distinctly California-woodlands scent appeared in my own notes as madrone, pine and wild blueberry. This is a savory red, all about brisk and bold tension in its structure and freshness in its fruit. The lively interplay of floral, herbal, fruity and umami is a window into the complexity this wine will develop with age.
Very much hewing to the Storybook Mountain style of precise, never flashy, very well-structured Zins with terrific aging potential, the 2018 Eastern Exposures is a deep, somewhat tightly wound youngster that hits all of the varietal marks smartly and never lets pushy ripeness have the final word. We have often commented that this maker’s Zinfandels can be uncannily claret-like in their construction, and, given the winery’s long track record for making wines that get better and better with cellaring, this one can and should be confidently laid away for another five to ten years.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.