Monday, December 10, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

Ridge's 2003 Independence School Zinfandel is unusual for Ridge in that it's not a single-vineyard wine. According to the winemaker's notes, the grapes for this wine were sourced from a number of small vineyards in Geyserville Township near the two-room 1870 Independence School, which served "served the ranches south of Geyserville for nearly a century." This is apparently a one-off wine -- Ridge never made it before 2003 and hasn't made it since. Despite the fact that the grapes for this wine come from near Geyserville, there is no indication that this is really a second wine for Ridge Geyserville -- the description of the properties is completely different from Ridge's description of the three adjacent vineyards that are used to produce Geyserville, and the notes specifically say that Independence School is not a single-site wine. This is complete speculation, but I would not be surprised if the vine grower had a contract for these grapes to go to another winery that fell through at the last minute and that Ridge took them because they had space and knew that they could make good wine out of them.

And it is good wine. It doesn't have quite the silky sensuousness of, say, Geyserville or Ponzo Vineyard, but it is polished and pleasant. It has a distinctive briary, brambley aroma that I associate with Zinfandel but that isn't present in other Ridge Zins that I've tried. This makes it more rustic than a standard Ridge, to my mind. Well, maybe "rustic" is a bit much. No Paul Draper-made wines are rustic. But it certainly is suburban or maybe even exurban.

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