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Posts tagged ‘Ridge Vineyards’

Spare Me the Bottle Age When It Comes to Zinfandel

Virtually every week I peruse WineBid to see if there are any wines worth bidding on. It strikes me that when I browse through the Zinfandel category I see countless bottles of Zin that are 10 plus years of age. Often I will see bottles that are 15-20 years old. I think that more often than not these wines end up on WineBid because collectors are disappointed with the way their aged Zinfandel tastes.

This past week I opened a 2003 Ridge Lytton Springs out of magnum. The wine was interesting with flavors of black tea and aromas of bay leaves and wet forest floor. It was definitely drinkable and paired admirably with a grilled steak. What the wine lacked though was the juicy acidity and brambly fruit characteristics that I adore in Zinfandel. This was the oldest bottle of Zin in my cellar and I had aged it intentionally to see how it would develop.

I am a proponent of aging wine in the cellar if they improve or become more compelling with bottle age. Obvious examples for me would include Bordeaux and top tier Cabernets from Napa. They develop compelling secondary characteristics and the tannins are more in balance with the fruit profile. While my bottle of ’03 Ridge Lytton Springs clearly made it to 15 years of age I am certain it was not better than had I consumed if 5-7 years ago. I know many a wine consumer who won’t touch a bottle of Ridge Geyserville or Lytton Springs until it reaches 15 years of age. I’ll err on the side of drinking them sooner rather than later going forward.

With that being said a little bottle age can clearly benefit some Zins. A recent bottle of 2015 Ridge Pagani was just a little too over the top at this time and a year or two in the cellar should bring more balance to the wine.

I will not pass judgement on those of you who want to cellar your Zins. I plan to drink most of my single vineyard Zin from the likes of Carlisle, Turley and Ridge in the the 5-8 year window after release. Wines like Outpost and Black Sears that are sourced from Howell Mountain will also be consumed after 5-8 years. Entry level Zins like Turley Juvenile and Old Vines or Carlisle Sonoma County will be consumed 1-3 years after they are released. Unless I lose track of the bottle in my cellar I don’t intend to keep bottles of Zin past 10 years of age going forward.

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2003 Ridge Lytton Springs – Bottle Notes

Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Paul Draper recently retired and John Olney is making the wines at Lytton Springs. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.

When I first became interested in Zinfandel the buzz was always around the Three R’s of Zinfandel: Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. 25 years later Ridge is still at the top of its game, turning out single vineyard Zinfandel from some of California’s most precious vineyards.

Lytton Springs Vineyard dates back to the early 1900’s and is located in the Dry Creek Valley. The ’03 Lytton Springs in a blend of 76% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, and 6% Carignane.

Served out of magnum without decanting. Crimson in color. 14.3% ABV. Interesting nose of red fruits, bay leaves and wet forest floor. Medium body with adequate acidity. Light, delicate and elegant. Cherries, salmonberry and black tea on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Even out of magnum I would contend this wine is at or slightly past it’s prime at 15 years of age. Very good nonetheless. Drink in the near term.

My rating:  89 points.

The 2015 vintage was recently released and can be found for $34-$40. I’ve already secured my bottles.

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The Week in Zinfandel (11/6/17)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2013 Ridge Lytton Springs – Bottle Notes

Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Paul Draper recently retired and John Olney is making the wines at Lytton Springs. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.

When I first became interested in Zinfandel the buzz was always around the Three R’s of Zinfandel: Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. 25 years later Ridge is still at the top of its game, turning out single vineyard Zinfandel from some of California’s most precious vineyards.

Lytton Springs Vineyard dates back to the early 1900’s and is located in the Dry Creek Valley. The ’13 Lytton Springs in a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane and 2% Mataro.

Crimson in color. 14.3% ABV. Tremendous nose of brambly red and blue fruits, licorice and cocoa powder. Medium to full bodied with ample acidity. Lush and hedonistic. Earthy flavors of blueberry, boysenberry, plums and bittersweet chocolate. The finish long and sweet with gritty tannins. Clearly a wine built for the long haul. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating:  92 points.

Current vintages of the Ridge Lytton Springs including the 2014 and 2015 can be found at retail and will cost right around $35. This is a wine that I buy year in and year out.

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The Week in Zinfandel (7/24/17)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2012 Ridge Geyserville – Bottle Notes

Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.

When I first became interested in Zinfandel the buzz was always around the Three R’s of Zinfandel: Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. 25 years later Ridge is still at the top of its game, turning out single vineyard Zinfandel from some of California’s most precious vineyards.

Geyserville is a traditional field blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet and Mataro. Portions of the vineyard date back 130 years.

Magenta in color. 14.4% ABV. 71% Zinfandel, 19% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro and 1% Alicante Bouschet. Savory, high-toned nose of red and black fruits, earthy loam and asian spices. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Ripe and jammy with a sense of elegance. Raspberry, boysenberry, licorice and black pepper on the palate. The long, delicious finish might be the best thing here. Drink over the next 4-7 years.

My rating: 91 points.

This wine is fairly priced at about $35 and the 2015 vintage is a worthy addition to the wine cellar.

Ridge is an annual winner in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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The Week in Zinfandel (7/10/17)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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The Week in Zinfandel (7/3/16)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Ridge Zinfandel East Bench

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The July Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Ridge Zinfandel East Bench.

Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.

When I first became interested in Zinfandel the buzz was always around the Three R’s of Zinfandel: Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. 25 years later Ridge is still at the top of its game, turning out single vineyard Zinfandel from some of California’s most precious vineyards.

Ridge has made the East Bench as a single-site Zinfandel since 2006, one of only two Ridge Zins that is 100% Zinfandel. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.

Magenta in color. 14.7% ABV. Brooding nose of black fruits, pepper and granite. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Plush, rich and savory. Blackberry, mulberry, raspberry liqueur and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with gritty tannins. Lots to like here and about the 2015 Ridge Zinfandel lineup in general. Drink over the next 5-7 years.

My rating: 92 points.

This wine is fairly priced at about $30 and a worthy addition to the wine cellar.

Ridge is an annual winner in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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The Week in Zinfandel (4/17/17)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

 If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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