Sometimes when you buy a bottle on a tasting trip, what you’re really getting is a souvenir, a suitcase for perfect weather and handsome company and latticed sunshine. Open it again in your apartment and it’s not the notes of vanilla that mean anything - it’s the total sense memory of a much better day.
The Changala 2010 “Zhone” did all that nostalgic lifting, then threw in a new trick: it was 10 times better than I remembered it on site. I bought it because I liked the wine and the women pouring it, tucked away in a small shared space off the main drag. I pulled it out this weekend without fanfare; I needed a casual red and vaguely remembered its drinkability and hits of dark cherry. It ended up shaming my recollection by being fantastic - a prism of blistered strawberry and plum backed by cocoa and sweet spice. The wine takes 60% Grenache and 40% Zin and does a Rhone riff that’s all Central Coast bravado and unassuming intellect. A balance of what’s best about California.
2010 Changala Zhone, $24, Changala Winery