Sunday, November 25, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

My experience with the 2005 Ridge Geyserville on Thanksgiving was so positive that I decided to buy more Ridge wines. And so I toddled on down to my friendly neighborhood liquor superstore, also known as the Spec's warehouse. They had a number of Ridge wines, including the 2005 Lytton Springs, the 2003 Lytton West Syrah, and the 2002 Homeranch Cab/Merlot. At some point, I will have to try the Lytton Springs, but I ended up purchasing two bottles: the 2005 Paso Robles (Dusi Ranch) Zin and the 2005 Ponzo Zin. I chose to give the Paso Robles Zin a try last night.

You will notice that the label of the bottle to the left looks a whole lot like the label of the Geyserville I had on Thanksgiving. That's the way that Ridge is. All of their labels are the same: simple cream paper with the wine identified on the front and a winemaker's blurb on the back. The graphic on the Geyserville label noting that the 2005 is the 40th vintage of that wine represents a radical departure in label layout. It's the only graphic of any kind that I have ever seen on a Ridge label.

This bottle is a bit unusual for Ridge. It's 100% Zinfandel, and it is so because the Dusi Ranch vineyard from which the grapes composing this wine were picked is planted in 100% Zinfandel. Ridge believes in single-vineyard wines, with the wine being made from all (or most) of the different varieties that are planted in that vineyard. If Dusi Ranch had had Carignane or Petite Sirah planted in it, some of those grapes would have made it into this wine. But Dusi Ranch is unusual: it was planted in 1922 and yet it still is all Zinfandel. Because it's 100% Zinfandel, it's also extremely high in alcohol at a liver-bruising 15.2%. That's okay -- it's not noticeably hot or alcoholic, which speaks well of the grapes used and the winemaker who used them. As is typical with Ridge, it was aged in American oak barrels, most of them five years old (meaning that the oak influence on the wine is muted).

This is a very different wine from the Geyserville that I had on Thanksgiving. This one is bigger, more exuberant, more fruit-driven. It's also more acidic, almost distractingly so at first. It mellows with air, though, and reveals a nicely-balanced wine. I also get some raisin on the palate, which I don't necessarily like. It's a nice wine but not as good as the Geyserville. That's okay -- I suspect that not a whole lot is as good as that Geyserville.

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