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Here today, Pagani tomorrow

Ridge 1999 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch (Sonoma County) – On the downslope, with coffee and earth dominating. There’s a remnant of the old coconut aromatics, but it’s fading. Drink up. (2/08)

York town

Ridge 1999 Zinfandel York Creek “Late Picked” (Napa Valley) – Off-dry prunes, the usual volatility, licorice, unsweetened chocolate, and drip coffee. The more of this style I taste, the less enamored I am; pushing it all the way to Essence level would be preferable, because without those layers of sweetness the classic late-harvest zin flaws of desiccated berry and nail polish remover are fully exposed. (2/08)


Ridge 1999 Paso Robles Zinfandel (Paso Robles) – Smoky cedar, thick and slightly hot, with concentrated blackberry cider forming a long, concentrated finish. Somewhat Scotchy, but then that’s not unusual for this bottling, which is a pretty fair effort for one of my least favorite Ridge zins. (1/08)

Old faithful

Ridge 1996 Geyeserville (Sonoma County) – Coconut and cocoa spice, with espresso and chocolate following. Big, jammy blackberry fills out the rest. This is starting to mature, though I’d like a little more fruit and a little less of the window-dressing. (1/08)

Lytton Hewitt

[map]Ridge 1998 Lytton Springs (Dry Creek Valley) – Draper’s note suggests to drink this nowish, and I think he’s right, though the spicy coconut oak hasn’t faded as much as one might like in a “mature” Lytton Springs. The fruit is clearly drying up, and while it’s still a warm and tasty festival of dark berries, the cracks and seams are unquestionably showing. (11/07)

Robles wobble

[map]Ridge 1999 Zinfandel Paso Robles (Paso Robles) – From the Dusi Ranch, though not the Dusi bottling. It’s odd to find a Ridge label confusing, but this one always has me shaking my head…not that I don’t understand it, I just find it a triumph of marketability (“Paso Robles”) over the usual Ridge site-specificity. Anyway…this is powerful and zingy, with razor-slashes of edgy dark-berry fruit that sizzle and spark as they pass. I’m sure it can age longer, but it’s in a really exciting place now. (11/07)