Simply one of the best wines at its price-point that we have known over the last two decades. Proof, if it were needed, that in the right hands Zinfandel is a superb grape variety. This is powerful, sophisticated, elegant and utterly beguiling.
The core flavours rarely change in young tastings of this wine, with the present vintage showing a dark, deep colour with ripe black cherry and plum, some flinty notes, a touch of pine and beautiful oak spice. It's a rich and smooth, deep wine that is impeccably layered with ripe, polished tannins, a clean and clear mineral-like structure and a long, memorable finish. As it ages, there are mature fruit flavours, currants and leather that develop. It's a real treat. As the high praise from the US publication Connoisseur's Guide says: "it still makes our palates sing and puts a smile on our faces. Buy it."
The Ridge story is one that really inspires; three tech graduates working in Silicon Valley, bought the ranch in 1959 as a weekend retreat for their young families. On the land was also a winery and vineyards. They started making some wines, but wanted a winemaker, so hired Paul Draper. He himself had been in the US Forces in Europe at the end of the Second World War and had studied in France after his duty, learning about winemaking as part of the course. What has happened since is one of the great uncoverings of a region, a grape and a philosophy that has helped put the USA on the fine wine map. Coming fifth in the original Judgement of Paris, then first in the re-visited Judgement 30 years later with the icon wine Monte Bello, the justification for Ridge's winemaking and vine selection decisions are clear and consistent: old vines, low intervention, organic vineyards and a commitment to honesty and quality. You can't argue with that.
One of Ridge's legendary and most-celebrated wines, this Zinfandel is actually made from a field blend of old vines, 71% Zinfandel, 19% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, 3% Alicante Bouschet. The exact proportions and contents changes depending on vintage quality, but the wine retains remarkable consistency from year to year, each time showing the Geyserville character. And you'll find out what's in the bottle when you buy it, because each and every action taken in the vineyards and winery is written on the label. This winery is such a tech-nerd haven, that they document everything and then tell you what they have done on the label, from winemaking dates to picking dates to the actual ingredients!
This is Ridge’s 54th consecutive vintage of Geyserville. The grapes grow in the Geyserville ranch zone, which is really a set of three contiguous vineyards, each with the same soil type. Originally a river bed that ran into the Russian River, these vineyards are poor in soil quality and rich in stone and gravel. Not very large in area, the total vineyard measures about 800 metres by 2.4 kilometres.
It's a remarkable wine with a huge history of success.
2019 ratings are as follow:
95 Points – Connoisseur's Guide
94 Points – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
93 Points – Wine Spectator
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
93 Points – Wine & Spirits
92 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
Region: Santa Cruz Mountains
Grape(s): Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan
Style: Powerful, Medium Full, Iconic, Elegant, Complex, Broad
Best food matches: Wild Boar, Warm Salads, Venison, Steak, St Stephen's Day, Roasts, Ribs, Red Meats, Poultry, Pork, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Game, Fine Dining, Duck, Christmas Dinner, Cheeses, Charcuterie