Old unfaithful

Ridge 1994 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – This is tight and flailing away at any attempt to make it less so, with primary wood and a not-altogether-pleasant liqueur character dominating all else; it’s a combination of fairly prominent alcohol and syrupy fruit (though just what that fruit is remains fairly opaque, even if a few of the famed ollalieberries make their presence known in a brief, shy encounter). There’s also unmistakable balsamic on the finish, which I just do not want to taste in my zin. And then, the tannin whips the palate, the acid pokes a bony finger forth, and the coconut wood covers everything in a blanket of shaved tropicality. This is a strange performance vs. the last bottle I tasted, which was much more complete and generous despite being quite primary itself. Ah, the mysteries of bottle variation. (8/07)

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