Browse Tag


Hope, eternal

Ridge 1987 Zinfandel Lytton Springs (Sonoma County) – 13.4% alcohol. Does that even count as wine in California anymore? Sweaty, dark, and dusty. Minted plum with a hint of smoke. Lightly-tarred tannin. Very slightly volatile. Structured, long, and still quite intense. This is in the prime of its maturity, and absolutely delicious. (3/05)

The powerlessness of 3

Ridge 2007 “Three Valleys” (Sonoma County) – 76% zinfandel, 8% petite sirah, 7% syrah, 6% grenache, 3% carignane. 14.3% alcohol. Monotone berries, ranging from deep red to deeper black, dusted with a bit of black pepper but otherwise fairly anonymous. A heavy wine…not hot, but ponderous and lifeless. Boring. (1/09)

Riding the Bench

[vat]Ridge 2006 Zinfandel East Bench (Dry Creek Valley) – 14.9%. Pure essence of Dry Creek – just like the text on the label promises – and quite wonderfully restrained in its post-harvest packaging. Wild, vine-y berries, twisted and gnarled, swirl on the palate. There’s a very light bit of coconut, but this wine is mostly about its fruit, which is concentrated but not overly intense. There’s light but balanced structure for medium-term ageability. Delicious. (12/08)

Lytton hüs

[tasting room]Ridge 1998 Lytton Springs (Dry Creek Valley) – 14.3%. Pretty much ready, with the primary, oak-dominated “perfume” still present, yet the red and black berries and plums softened and lush with spice in the manner of a well-aged Lytton. Drink it now, while waiting for more structured and muscular vintages to reach maturity. (8/08)

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)


Ridge 1995 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch “Late Picked” (Sonoma Valley) – Concentrated blackberry that narrows to a thin beam of acidity. Ridge’s late-picked wines are rarely my favorites, but for reasons (volatile acidity, mostly) not on display here. Rather, this is a wine that seems to be thinking about coming apart. It’s quite approachable, but it’s pretty much all approach, and no follow-through. (4/08)

York town

Ridge 1996 Petite Sirah York Creek (Spring Mountain) – Tannic and huge. Gosh, what a surprise. There’s a massive burst of soil within, but this – like so many other petite sirahs done in the “traditional” California style, remains aggravatingly primary despite an appealing, hulkish drinkability. (4/08)


Ridge 2001 Monte Bello (Santa Cruz Mountains) – Gorgeous. Soil, gravel, sand, and loam. Herbs and the suggestion of fruit to come. Dark, smooth, and balanced, with an elegant power, well-restrained for now, but far superior to raw size or brawn. Epic. (2/08)

The power of 3

Ridge 2005 Zinfandel “Three Valleys” (Sonoma County) – An oaky, harsh, tangled mess. There’s absolutely nothing good about this wine. (3/08)