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Nathan Kandler's day job is winemaker at the Thomas Fogarty winery but he somehow found the time to set up his own independent label, Precedent, in order to make wines from specially selected sites in California's lesser known areas like the Evangelho vineyard in Contra Costa County. This AVA in California does not have the kudos of Napa Valley or Sonoma which is a shame because Contra Costa County has some 100+ year old Zinfandel, Mourvèdre and Carignan.
Why do old vines matter, you might ask...? Well, they produce fewer, smaller but richer grapes that ripen earlier enabling picking before the flavours have turned to jammy fruit, the acidity has fallen too low and the alcohol is too high as can be the case with some Californian wines. You can read more about this in my old vines blogpost. Nathan grows sustainably and his combination of some of the oldest vines in California, sandy, well-drained soils, traditional and natural techniques in the vineyard and cellar, native yeasts, minimal use of sulphur and just a gentle touch of well seasoned French oak lead to concentrated, complex wines with a bit of backbone, heaps of (non-jammy) fruit and a silky smooth texture.
This really is an OMG wine, one of those wines that you know is fabulous the minute you smell it. Fruit and floral aromas rise out of the glass as soon as the wine is poured. The flavours do not disappoint and include blackberries, blackcurrants with hints of cranberry, red plums and chocolate, a touch of marzipan, pepper and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. I realise that that makes this sound like a BIG wine but in fact this is both elegant and complex, the complexity partly from the co-fermentation of the grapes. This wine is in fact a field blend as the Zinfandel vines are inter-planted with smaller amounts of Carignan, Mataro or Mourvèdre, Palomino, Muscat, Chasselas and, according to Nathan, "other varieties as of yet un-identified". It is therefore an approximate blend - 90% Zinfandel and the rest a mix of Palomino, Muscat, Mataro, Carignan and more. This is a special wine, to be savoured.
This wine is very food friendly and will particularly suit steak, barbecued meat including ribs, venison, roast chicken and spicy dishes - hot sauces such as Arrabbiata, spicy Asian and Mexican dishes - and rich sauces such as Bolognaise
16.5 points JancisRobinson.com Mar 2019
“Silky smooth and chock-full of restrained fruit. Really a very sophisticated Zin. Lots of impact but all beautifully balanced. Dry finish and no excess of heat or berry fruit. Claret structure! Notable."
An OMG wine, a really well-made Californian Zinfandel with beautiful fragrance, complex fruit flavours and great elegance. It has an amazingly smooth texture and a lovely long finish.