Browse Tag


Ridge lyin’

[geyserville]Ridge 2001 Geyserville (Sonoma County) — Unraveling a bit, but the yarn is still beautiful. Mixed berries, their acid more on display than usual, and a fraying oak/tannin structure. Drink soonish. (10/16)

Oak Boys

[geyserville]Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) — The second-to-last bottle of what was, once, a mighty two-case stash. This wine rounded into form somewhere between five and ten years ago, but I let the supply linger, ever mindful of the surprising ageability of many of the older Ridge zins and zin blends. There has been no clear pattern to those uncorked since; some were full of energy, others decidedly tired. (We all remain incredibly thankful for the unpredictability and inconsistency of natural cork, right?) This bottle was an interesting statistical outlier in that its structure was as dusty as old tomes in an abandoned library, but its fruit was far less advanced than any bottle of recent memory; plenty of sous bois, yes, but also many-layered wild berries atop that forested baritone. I couldn’t really recommend holding it any longer, but I admit that curiosity urges me to bury the last one for another decade, just to see what happens. (6/16)

Oak Boys

Ridge 1995 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 62% zinfandel. Oak perfume (I refuse to call Paul Draper a barrel, or even a tree), dust, and sweat. Silky blackberries on a bed of seeds and rocks. This is a wine at the perfect midpoint between post-primary fruit and maturity, with neither wresting the majority. (11/11)

Blow it open

Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Bottle variations has been strong with this wine of late, and here is no exception. Brutish and still angrily-structured, this hasn’t delivered itself of dark purple fruit yet, though there’s bubbling-under set of pepper dusts and earthen tones,. While the “Draper perfume” of soft oak is evident, it is quite subordinate to fruit and structure at the moment. Bottles like this will age for quite a few years yet. And some are ready to go. (2/11)

A regular blowing of cork

Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Corked. (8/10)

Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Unlike the last few bottles, which have been more or less on the early side of ready, this is years from that state. Coconut, blackberry juice, dust, primary tannin. Tastes like a 2004 (well, except for the fact that the 2004 can be an overwooded yak-fest) more than a 1999. This bottle should have been left to sleep for another five or ten years. (10/10)

Hawaiian tropic

Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Open 24 hours and tasted from a mostly empty bottle. Coconut oil, spicy earth, walnut, and chocolate. Good acidity. This is in a slightly weird state, and I have a disagreement with the source of the bottle; he thinks its ready to drink, I think it’s in need of more time. (3/10)


[vineyard]Ridge 1999 Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 14.8%. Folks on ye olde internete keep insisting this is at peak, or even on the decline. They’re out of their minds. No, it’s not fully primary anymore, dominated by coconutty oak and jellied fruit. A lot of the former has integrated, exchanging coconut for vanilla, and the latter has definitely deepened to meld more closely with the wine’s darker, black-berried muscularity, but almost all of the aromatic and textural development that makes aging Geyserville so worthwhile has yet to arrive, and there’s rather a surplus of structure at the moment as well. That said, the time at which it would be worth checking in – given sufficient quantities – isn’t far off. Maybe another four or five years? And then holding for…well, I’d guess a long time, at various points along which curve it will be among the great successes of latter-period Ridge Geyserville. (7/09)

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).

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)

  • 1
  • 2