Old, faithful

Ridge 1987 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – All of 13.7% alcohol. It hardly seems possible. Mixed pepper dusts fall upon sweet strawberries and light plumminess. There’s an earthy funk to it as well, plus a slight edge of drying apple-walnut bitterness on the finish; this is a wine that’s just past maturity and is starting to show signs of minor erosion, despite its still-considerable appeal. It’s often said that zinfandel ages into something akin to claret. Not so in this case; the antecedent I’d choose is Burgundy, or perhaps a light-minded Oregon pinot noir. A lovely old wine fading into its sunset, but still vibrant with deep, fruit-toned colors (3/05).

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