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ingenuityIn 2010 I was on an Insider’s tour of Paso Robles visiting the Denner winery when we were invited to taste pre-release wines from an upstart—Epoch—a new label with only one vintage under their belt. The winemaker, Jordan Fiorentini, was young, charming and enthusiastic about her wines. The wines were young, raw, and full of sharp edges, not yet ready to drink. But even in that infantile state you could sense power and depth and an ineffable mysterious quality that great wines have. So I took a gamble and got on their allocation list hoping that age would be kind. It’s 2013, time to see how they are progressing.

The Ingenuity is a flat-out terrific wine.  Like a young beauty on the way to a party, it is all fresh exuberance but with the elegance of a mature wine beginning to show as the rough edges have softened considerably. Dark berry aromas accented by black pepper leap from the glass but smoke and earth emerge as the wine evolves, all encased in subtle, sweet coconut from the 22 months in French Oak, 32% new. The mid-palette is tender, round, and smooth despite the intense, concentrated fruit and ample acidity. The flavors persist through the long, beguiling finish. A wine of intensity and grace, it has definitely entered its drinking window. Although it should be fine for 6-8 years I would drink it earlier rather than later—its freshness is not to be missed.

Epoch specializes in Rhone blends although they make some Zinfandel and Tempranillo as well. The Ingenuity is 61% Syrah, 17% Grenache, 14% Petite Sirah, 8% Mourvédre harvested from the highly regarded Paderewski Vineyard.

The 2008 is probably difficult to obtain but the 2009 and 2010 are available.

Score: 95/100

Price: $67

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