10 Questions with Paul Draper: #5!

The question seems almost inevitable, and today Paul addresses it; the question of alcohol levels in zinfandel. Enjoy Q & A # 5 in our special ten-question series with Paul Draper!

5-    Your Zinfandel based wines such as Geyserville and Lytton Springs have low alcohol levels as compared to other wines made with Zinfandel. Why is it so and how can they age so gracefully for so many years?

 Zinfandel must be grown in warmer climates like Napa, Sonoma or Paso Robles to develop the fruit flavors that give it its character.  As with the over-ripe Cabernets of Napa today, Zinfandel only needs to be fully ripe, not over-ripe, to produce the most complex, age-worthy wines.  It does ripen quickly if days of very warm temperatures come during harvest; however, if you are sampling carefully and are determined not to make over-ripe wines, that can usually be avoided.  We have worked with over fifty old-vine Zinfandel vineyards over the last forty years.  The Geyserville we first made in 1966 and it has proven to be one of the most consistently fine wines. Likewise we first made the Lytton Springs in 1972 and it has rivaled the Geyserville in its consistency of quality and ageability. We took over the Geyserville vineyard in 1990 and purchased Lytton Springs in 1991 because of the quality of those terroirs.  All but a few of the others were dropped after a year or after ten years.  These wines come from particularly great sites.

***Do you have a question for Paul? Let us know! wine@ridgewine.com***

(“10 Questions for Paul Draper” questions composed by Rodrigo Mainardi of Mistral, Brazlian Distributor for Ridge Vineyards)

Paul Draper grew up on an eighty-acre farm in the Chicago suburb of Barrington. After attending the Choate School and receiving a degree in philosophy from Stanford University, he lived for two years in northern Italy. Later he attended the University of Paris and traveled extensively in France, gaining practical experience in traditional winemaking. In the mid-sixties, with a close friend, he set up a small winery in the coast range of Chile and produced several vintages of cabernet sauvignon. He joined Ridge Vineyards in 1969, and presently resides atop Monte Bello Ridge with his wife Maureen and daughter Caitlin. He is known for his crafting of fine cabernets and chardonnays from the Monte Bello estate vineyards, and as a pioneer in the production of long-lived, complex zinfandels.


Categories: Geyserville, History, Lytton Springs, Paul Draper, Press Reviews, RIDGE Questionnaire, Varietals & Blends, Vineyards and Oenology, Winemaking, Zinfandel

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