Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

At some point in 2000, I purchased a bottle of 1998 Ridge Lytton Springs. (The picture to the right is doubly wrong: it's a 2005 bottle, and it's a split instead of a standard 750 ml one.) I imagine that I was planning on keeping it for a special occasion or something. Regardless, I forgot about it for a number of years, which is how it came to be sitting in my wine rack in late 2007. Lytton Springs is one of Ridge's two flagship Zinfandel blends (along with Geyserville), although it is not labeled as Zinfandel. The 1998 is 77% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, 4% Mataro, and 1% Alicante Bouschet, according to the label, and it is 14.3% alcohol. The label also says that
Intense fruit, a rich structure, and firm tannins characterize this lovely vintage, which will be at its best over the next five to six years.

The wine was bottled in November, 1999, so math indicates that Paul Draper thought that it would last until late 2005. That was two years ago. And it's not like I have stored this in ideal conditions. There is nothing to do but drink it now and see how it is.

I suspect that it has seen better days. When I first poured it, the dominant aroma was of a box of Band-Aids. Yes, Band-Aids. I don't know what wine-taster-ese is for that smell, but it wasn't the world's most appealing. There was no fruit that I could detect: just Band-Aids and tannin. At one point, I almost poured it out, but I decided to persevere. I'm glad I did. With some time in the glass and vigorous swirling, it improves considerably. I started to get some fruit, and the Band-Aid smell dissipated. Still, it is dominated by dark, dank odors. I can't say that I actually liked it, but it wasn't revolting. Oh, how I wish that I had consumed this three or four years ago.

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