I like Mondays.
May I present …
… my Monday Morning Meeting.
We started in on the zinfandels first. The tasters:
Paul Draper (CEO, Head Winemaker)
Eric Baugher (VP of Winemaking, Monte Bello)
David Amadia (VP Sales & Marketing)
Mark Vernon (President & COO)
Ryan Moore (Director, Direct-to-Consumer Retail Sales)
And some tasting note sketches:
2004 Ridge Vineyards York Creek Zinfandel
Nice, bright red ruby tones in the glass, fairly substantial bowl-side glaze, comparatively short, medium-speed legs — Slightly ripe nose, w/ sweet red menthol strains, a trace of anise, and an appealingly mild earthiness – Fairly mineraly tannins, though also somewhat powdery in character, mid to slightly low fruit tones, a nicely mitigated acidity, and a comparatively lean finish, tho still some good structure present; acid on the back-end is vibrant, tannins are still youthful.
2005 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs
Nice pluot tones in the bowl, w/ a refined glaze and quick, slender legs. Very, very clear and pristine translucence.A bit tight on the nose at first, though it opens up a tad with time; an unusual, almost grapefruit-esque citricity in and amongst some dirt and forestation in the nose; a touch herbaceous. Beautiful, round, warm mouthfeel, good acidity, firm but integrated tannins. A pleasantly “sappy” character; sweet but not sweet, viscous but not viscous, piney but not green; herbality is in fact almost perfectly integrated. Great food wine, excellent at table! A more “European” style of zinfandel; w/ the focus being on finesse, balance, acidity.
2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville
Lovely bright, red, clear magenta tones in the bowl, with a beautiful, pale salmon-fuschia halo. Medium-glaze, fairly rapid legs. Lots of tobacco and cedar, cherry, concentrated plum. Fairly sharp, crisp, intense cherry, lazer-precise fruit, acidity has def. come forward, lots of gravel and mineral. The least ripe this wine has ever shown, and accordingly very, very delicious. Some plum skin showing towards the finish, w/ strong notes of boysenberries, and a trace of thin and sensorial smoke. Really bright finish, lively acid, slight grippiness to the still young tannins.
2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Estate Zinfandel
Very black core, clear garnet middle, magenta to salmon to pale fushcia halo. Remarkable striation to the tones in the glass; some 8-10 easily identifiable rings of hue cycling outwards. Fairly tarry character to the low-end of the aromatics, with a sense of dense fruit — Black and brambly and earthy mid-palate. Very structured, w/ good acid on the back-end. Sightly herbaceous notes throughout, and still a tad adolescent structurally.
2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs
Very nice, even-keeled color profile, minimal striation/variation, very good clarity, fairly brightly hued. Very pale, very pretty and subtle and fragile pink halo. Medium glaze bowl-side, with fairly quick and agile legs. Ever so slightly more dirtier and funkier nose, but in a very appealing way — Nicely autumnal fig quality to the mid-palate, w/ more of a sense of dried fruit and nut butter tones; especially a trace of hazelnut — Richer mouthfeel, very concentrated and compressed. Some meat and flesh to the mouthfeel, w/ more somber acid than, say, the Geyserville, but still percolating, particularly on the finish.
2006 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville
Darkish tones overall in the bowl, w/ a concentrated and dark core, ringed by a bright ruby outer striation; a very pretty, very concentrated halo – pretty intensely concentrated on the nose, with lots of baking herbs present amongst the fruit — Very autumnal, with hints of pistachio and roasted chestnut; very nice stone fruit presence mid-palate, bright acidity, very focused and precise fruit, though somewhat dark in character — A bit blacker, w/ some resin notes. Overall, very mysterious and autumnal and rich and exotic, w/ an almost chutney-like character. Possibly the most pleasantly delicious suprise of the lot, as I hadn’t tasted this vintage in some time …
Then, after a break for liberal samplings of Watsonville Sourdough and Ridge Vineyards Olive Oil, it was on to the Monte Bellos …
And more tasting notes sketches:
2007 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
Warm, elegant, beautiful plum hues in the bowl, brilliant lighter ruby on the limn, very controlled and elegant glaze with somewhat svelter legs — Beautiful; very pretty fruit, very accessible aromatics — Very refined, mentholated, herbaceous, along with richer fruit, a dense core, black-hearted and piratic of spirit, yet graceful, elegant, and demure in practice — Unbelievably firm tannins, but so compressed, so graceful; as if balletic in a boxer’s body — Great evolution to date; lots of raspberry notes, and overall, perfectly balanced.
2000 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
Beautiful, fresh young appearance, perfectly ruby-toned, w/ a pale, salmon-skin halo, and a slightly thickish glaze – A little intense on the nose, but very excellent cool-climate style; some menthol and eucalyptus, with a fiery exoticness – Seems to be showing more of its cab franc on the nose at this point, and accordingly a great herbality coming through — Perfection of mouthfeel; very round, w/ good focus, and a good spread across the palate. A slight citricty to the acidity in the finish, but overall, pretty classically Bordeaux in character. That said, is admittedly in a bit of an awkward adolescent stage; lots of elbows and knees; good cab franc up front, good cool climate aromatics, and great rusticity and structure to the finish, but mid-palate fruit is still coming in and out of focus. Clearly a stunning vintage, but probably 10 years away from full flower.
1999 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
Ah, the 99! Such a sexy, dirty, groovy, funky, sly and appealing vintage …Slinky and low and jazzy aromatics; subterranean and slick of style, hints of decadence and groove and purity… Good plummy middle, anchored by an almost neopolitan triad of cocoa, cream, and berry –Spryer and brighter fruit as the wine moves cross-palate; comparatively leaner, brighter acidity on the finish, tho balanced against the still-lingering dirtier funkier character. Proportions are pretty much perfect; a great, rustic Monte Bello with very controlled balance and precision.
1995 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
Nice and rich and thick and juicy fruit-dense visuals, perfect ruby limn; really rich glaze, thick and gravitas-laden legs — Fleshy, forward, strong aromatics; muscular, meaty, dense — Some cedar and wood and bark aromatics leading into a plummier, sweeter, astonishingly fresh, lightly playful mixed harvest berry profile on the palate — Still lots of forward tannin present, and still great acidity; just a lot of wine in the glass; pound for pound, a VERY intense offering that continues its VERY slow pace towards long-term high excellence.
I DO know why I DO like Mondays …
Tags: 1995 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, 1999 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, 2000 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, 2004 Ridge Vineyards York Creek Zinfandel, 2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, 2005 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs, 2006 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, 2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Estate Zinfandel, 2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs, 2007 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, David Amadia, Eric Baugher, Mark Vernon, Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards Olive Oil, Ryan Moore, Watsonville Sourdough