Our Liquid Of Ritual

Oh, the things wine has seen!

You can really find yourself getting quite emotional thinking about it, if you just let it happen.

On the other hand, it’s also quite easy to fall into the other trap; you’re a maker of wine, you put your heart and soul into it, it’s of the land, the people, it has a story. But at the end of the day, it’s just another product, fighting for space — and profit — in a competitive marketplace. This one gets a high-number rating, that one doesn’t, this one gets on this restaurant’s list, that one doesn’t, there are holiday bonuses for these staffers, none for those; this one re-invests, that one goes back to the drawing board. At the end of the day, the spreadsheet calls the tune, and everybody dances.

But then again, sometimes life gives you one of those amazing zen awareness slaps, and you suddenly see things differently. Suddenly you realize that what you’re doing IS special, that it IS meaningful, that there IS a point.

Sometimes, the simple act of selling a bottle of wine can become an invitation to beauty; an invitation to take one’s place in the pages of someone’s beautiful story.

Our liquid of ritual.

It was 1992, and it was time to harvest the fruit from the York Creek vineyards. The grapes were perfect; perfectly ripe –ideal sugar levels — and everything came in on time; early October. But no one handling the fruit that day had any idea.

Fast forward to June of 1994. Paul Draper is sitting at his desk, with a #2 pencil and lined yellow pad of legal paper. His singular left-leaning script is spider-webbing across the page as he ruminates on the wine. The final line of text that he commits to that day is an estimate of “10-15 years” of further development. At the moment he writes these numbers, he has no idea.

Fast forward to 2002. Paul’s estimate is 8 years in, the 1992 vintage is, for all intents and purposes, long sold-out; 1999 is the current release now. No one knows how the 1992 is showing. No one has any idea. But someone buys a bottle, via a rare and limited library offering. They buy it, but they have no idea.

Fast forward to 2009. Mike Boyer has been cellaring his bottle of 1992 York Creek Petite Sirah for a long time. Paul’s 15 years are up. But Mike doesn’t open the wine. The bottle stays in his cellar. He has no idea.

Fast forward to July 30th, 2012. At about 4pm, I read the following e-mail:

“Dear Ridge Winemakers and Staff,

I just wanted to write to say thank you – yet again – for another amazing bottle of Ridge wine.

Last Thursday evening, my wife and I opened a bottle of 1992 York Creek petite sirah to celebrate the birth of our second child, a baby girl. I had purchased the wine at your tasting room about 10 years ago through your library tasting program and had been cellaring it for quite a while now. I knew it was special when I tasted it back then. And now, wow!

There is just one word fit to describe this 20-year-old wine: awesome. All of the edge had come off this beauty and what was left was smooth black and blue fruits with a silky finish. Incredible. Never have I tasted a petite sirah like it.

Thanks to everyone at Ridge for making a special occasion even more special. We love you guys!”

Now THAT … is reason to make good wine.

And when the cork came out of that bottle, a beautiful petite sirah was but one thing that flowed out; with it came the lives of everyone who brought that wine to life.

And on behalf of all at Ridge, we say congratulations to Mike and Holly Boyer!

Thank you Mike and Holly, for inviting us into your beautiful lives and your beautiful story; we could not be more honored.

Spreadsheet be damned, there’s a new little girl in the world!

Making a special occasion more special?

THAT … is the idea.



Categories: History, Paul Draper, Petite Sirah, Ridge Memorabilia, Varietals & Blends, Vineyards and Oenology, Vintage Wine Labels, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine & Philosophy, Wine Tales

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4 replies

  1. Congratulations to Mike Boyer and a welcome to the world to his little one!

    Thanks also to Mr Draper for his ‘durability’ notes on the bottles of Ridge wines. As an avid collector (some 200+ different Ridge wines in my collection) I can but comment that rarely is Mr D wrong in his assessment, but, having tasted wines BEYOND those dates, I can attest that these wines really are worth the wait.

    Sadly, I now only have four bottles (of the original box of 12) of the 2000 York Creek PS which says ‘…. will richly reward those with the patience to wait 20 years’ (PD3/03). Do I really have to wait until at least 2020 for my next one?

    Can I resist the temptation to open another one? Probably not as I tend to agree with Oscar Wilde’s comment ‘I can resist anything except temptation’.

    But seriously, thanks to all at Ridge for the combined effort that makes your wines so appealing and enjoyable – seemingly at every stage in their lives, be they young or old!

    Salut!!

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