Sunday, December 9, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

There is a good deal of independent vineyard ownership in California, meaning that it is very common for wineries not to own their own vineyards but instead to have to buy their fruit from the grape growers with the good grapes. There's a good side and a bad side to this practice for wineries, of course. They don't have to bear the risk of a particular vineyard having an awful harvest or being infested with pests or some similar disaster, and they're free to seek out better fruit any time they want to; however, they face the prospect of having to bid against other wineries for the best grapes. In practice, both the growers and the wineries try to mitigate the risk by entering into multiyear contracts with one another, but it's still possible for fruit from the same vineyard to go to multiple different wineries. And it was for Ponzo Vineyard in 2005. Some of those grapes went to Ridge to make the Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel that I finished up last night, and some went to Nickel & Nickel, a boutique winery specializing in single-vineyard wines. I know this because I saw it on the shelf not two feet away from the Ridge version. I would be very curious to see how a different winery made out with fruit from the same vineyard, but, alas, I probably never will. The Nickel & Nickel Ponzo Vineyard Zin costs nearly $50 a bottle, which is too rich for my blood. I have long since realized that my palate isn't good enough to tell decent wine from really, really good wine, so I would likely feel ripped off by a wine that expensive, whether or not it was objectively better than the Ridge.

Anyway, this was still an extremely enjoyable wine the day after the bottle was opened. Fruity without being overpowering, powerful without being overly alcoholic, just a very pleasant drinking experience.

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