The Ensnare Of Jimsomare: A Vertical Proposition?

It is barely an exaggeration to say that not a week goes by without someone asking me if we have any wine from the Jimsomare designation on hand, and if not, asking me when we will. In fact, I’d even posit that, had I  all along been collecting one dollar for each time I was asked such a question, I would by now have accrued more than enough revenue to effectively purchase Jimsomare myself!

Well, the good news is that there is another Jimsomare on its way! More about that later…

In the interim, I’d like to propose a “virtual vertical” as a gesture of anticipatory celebration for the new release, meaning, if anyone out there has some Ridge wines from the Jimsomare designation in their cellar, and is ready, willing , and able to open and taste, then let’s cobble together all such individuals, and on a set day and time, let’s all taste, and share notes on this blog! It’ll be sort of our own Wine Blogging Wednesday -meets- Twitter Taste Live, but done the Ridge way!

I eagerly await your replies …

Categories: Tasting Notes


37 replies

  1. I love some of the old Jimsomare Zinfandels I’ve had. One of my favorites is the 1982 Jimsomare Zinfandel. This was a great wine similar in build to an old fashioned bordeaux (and not one from a big, ripe year – just an average bordeaux year , like 1981). It was only 11.2 alcohol. It did not bowl you over with body on the first taste. However, it was pleasantly tart and FULL of wonderful pine and raspberry fruit and other unspeakable character and it went WONDERFULLY with dinner. I drank about 30 bottles of this wine over 20 years (sharing with friends, of course). No, this wine would not win the competitive tasting, but it was a great wine. I have not been able to find a zinfandel anything like this these days. The high alcohol luscious-on-the-first-sip wines Zins saturate the market today. I pine for the wonderful, packed with character, tart, beautiful wines that are harmonious with an interesting dinner and not the focus of a competitive tasting. What happened to these wines? Where have they gone. I want some more of them. Tell me where I can get them. I bought a case of the last release of Jimsomare Zin. I’m sure it will be good, but it is pretty clear that winemakers don’t set out to make wines like the 82 Jimsomare. It was a truly wonderful wine that drank beautifully over 20 years and was still going strong. Can’t we get some more of these?

  2. G’day Everyone,

    I have just pulled my last bottle (1 of 2) of the 2003 Ridge Jomsomare Ranch Zinfandel out of the cellar for consumption at a dinner tonight.

    I had my first bottle about 18 months ago and was just blown away by the amazing combination of elegance and concentration that this wine presented – truly a masterful example of Californian Zinfandel if ever there was one!

    I purchased my two bottles from cellar door whilst i was working vintage in Sonoma Valley in 2005 – Jerry Widing gave me the recommendation to taste it and on the back of a quick tasting i purchased my two bottles. I was however not aware of the rarity and pedigree of the Jimsomare vineyard at that point in time.

    If there are any future releases of this wine i would love to be advised so that I might be able to purchase a small quantity to share with like minded wine colleagues here in Australia – we are totally starved of American wines here let alone American wines of the quality and virtue of Ridge’s offerings.

    Yours in wine,


  3. We opened a 1990 Jimsomare Cab this evening (10/9) to celebrate my father-in-laws 95th birthday with him and a couple of friends. Purchased from the winery in ’92 for about $11.00. Still well structured. Good balance. Tannins tamed, fruit still present. Took about an hour to open up. Typical! We have a few more bottles that we will put on our “drink by next summer” list.

    • Brilliant! What a way to celebrate a 95th; it sounds perfect … And I’m of course thrilled to hear that the wine is pouring so well, that’s fantastic news. Please feel free to keep me posted on further tastings!


  4. Any further activity on having a virtual vertical of Jimsomare zinfandel?

    • Oh Lonnie, we did it already! But you’re question might explain why we didn’t get that many takers; maybe folks just didn’t know! Well, we’ll have to come up with a better plan of attack next time; this won’t be our last Virtual Vertical!

  5. Just picked up a bottle of 87 Jimsomare Cab. Anyone checked in on it lately?


    • Oooh, the ’87, excellent! Any chance you’d be willing to pop it as part of our Virtual Vertical? We’re almost ready to announce the date …


      • Hi Chris,
        I’m sorry I wasn’t able to participating in the Virtual Vertical this time. I did host a small Ridgefest at my home that included:
        ’91 Santa Cruz Mtn Merlot
        ’87 Santa Cruz Mtn Cab
        ’87 York Creek Cab
        ’87 Jimsomare Cab
        ’91 Jimsomare Cab
        ’81 Montebello

        A great time was had by all. ’91 Jimsomare would have been WOTN had I not found the ’81 Monte.

      • Wow, what a brilliant flight! Any photos or tasting notes you’d be willing to share?

  6. Sounds like a great idea. Let me see what bottles I have.

    • Brilliant!

      And the good news is, we’ve definitely got enough participants lined up now, so it’s time to schedule! I’ll put up a post shortly suggesting some times …


  7. I have a bottle of the 2003 Jimsomare zin – one of two bottles I bought at the tome. I have been kicking myself for not getting more and am really looking forward to tasting the new release.

    Please keep me posted on the new release!


    • Thanks so much for the comment Lin! I’ll get into more detail soon, but given that we’ll be setting a date for the Jimsomare Virtual Vertical next week, let’s cut to the chase; are you in for the tasting! I sure hope so, we’d love to have you! I’ll be posting some suggestions for date and time next week, so stay tuned, and thanks again!


  8. Someone said 95 was last year for jimsomare cab, but I have a bottle of 1998.

  9. I drank a bottle of 1990 Jimsomare cab over the past few days. It was delicious, soft but still developing. It was still solid after 3 days in the fridge.
    I still have lots of Jimsomare cab and zin, my oldest zin being 83 and my oldest cab being 85

    • Thanks Gil!

      So, is it safe to assume you’ll join us for our Jimsomare “Virtual Vertical?” We’d love to have you!


  10. Please count me in for your Jimsomare zin event. I have the 2001 and the 2003 in my cellar.

    My non-commercial website ( contains my tasting notes and labels from 16 Ridge zins, vintages 1969 through 1976, including the now-legendary ’70 Jimsomare, ’73 Geyserville and ’74 Lytton Springs. And you will find Ridge’s 1970 White Zinfandel! This web site is a testimonial to the proposition that my compulsive behavior is not always a bad thing.

    • Greetings Lonnie, thanks so much for the comment! And that’s fantastic that you’re up for the Jimsomare “virtual vertical,” we’re really assembling a great roster of participants … there are just a few people I’m waiting on for a “cellar report,” and once they’ve confirmed, we’ll get our date and time set … Thanks as well for providing a link to your site, I’m eager to have a look … and I’m pretty certain your viticultural compulsions are a good thing indeed!


  11. Ooooh, I love me some Jimsomare.

    Roland, 1997 was the last Jimsomare Cabernet to date. My understanding is that this block is now almost always included in Monte Bello. It’s just that good!

    This is the vintage that was hiding in the back room when I first started at Ridge-Lytton Springs 5 years ago. I slowly whittled down the reserves with the help of some key ATP members. 🙂 Wish I’d been patient enough to still have some!

    • Well, I tell you what Melissa, if anyone has a chance at “scoring” a surplus bottle of Jimsomare, I’m willing to bet it’s you! I’m going to count you in for the “virtual vertical” purely on faith!


    • Well, I thought it was my private secret that Jimsomare cab was “just that good” 😉

  12. I would love to participate but I am a relative newby and only have the ’05.

    • First off, there is most decidedly nothing wrong with being a “newby”! A newby is just an old-timer waiting to happen!

      Secondly, what specifically is the Jimsomare you have?

      • I have the 2005 Jimsomare Zinfandel. I believe your last release. Looking forward to hearing about the new one.

      • Fantastic! I’ll keep you posted both on the new release, and on the “virtual vertical.” We’re starting to line up a nice roster of participants, and with just a few more folks, we’ll be ready to go! Thanks for being up for this!


  13. Hmmmmm….I’ll have to check & see if I still have that Jimsomare Sylvaner ’68!! 🙂
    I’ll have to go into my archives and see what I can dig up. Since the Jimsomare Zins were not regularly included in the ATP releases,
    my stocks may be kinda spoarse.

    • Brilliant Tom! And wow, ’68 Sylvaner, that’d be something to hear about indeed! Let me know about your “stocks,” and as soon as we cobble enough participants together, we’ll have ourselves a mighty fine “virtual vertical” …


      • Huh….Christopher….obviously you don’t know me well enough to figure out when I’m making stuff up!!!
        Actually, Ridge DID make WhiteRiesling, Sylvaner, and Chardonnay back in the late ’60’s. But the Sylvaner came from the VineHill Vnyd. The Chard & WhiteReisling DID come from MonteBello (middle vnyd), but those vines were pulled. The Chard is now only down on JimsomareRanch, I believe.
        In Spring ’75, I took a group of LosAlamos foilks, in SanFrancisco for an AmericanNuclearSociety mtg, up to TheRidge and DaveBennion hosted us. After tasting thru a bunch of the new ’73 Zin releases, I told Dave how good I thought the Ridge Zins were, but told him I thought the whites were not nearly as good. He took this as a challenge and went into the library and started pulling out old WhiteRieslings, Chards, and Sylvaners from the late-mid ’60’s. Culminating w/ a hlf btl of a ’68 (I think) WhiteRiesling TBA. With age, those wines became very interesting old wines. Made a believe outta me, anyway, and Dave proved his point.
        That’s one thing that many people don’t realize…how well those SantaCruzMtn Chards age, and not just the Ridges.

      • Well, I was actually pretty certain you were pulling my leg, but lord knows there are enough Ridge rarities out there to keep me continually guessing! And I figured, well, if there really was a Jimsomare Sylvaner from ’68, than it would indeed be something to hear about!

        On another note, I think you’re spot on about the ageability of Ridge Chards; I was reading some Gang of Pour notes recently, and there was some talk about older vintage chards and how well they were showing; I’m getting inspired, might be time to pull some older vintages out for some tasting!

  14. Are we talking zins or cabs here?

    • Good question! I thought I’d leave it loose until we see what people come up with … do you plan to participate? That’d be great! What would you propose to taste?

      • I don’t know when the last cab was bottled with the Jimsomare designation, or if they will appear again. We have some 94s and 95s and maybe a couple of others in the cellar. When last we consumed one, I did note that those were among the best value cabs I’d ever purchased. Not just best value, but showstoppers at dinner parties.

        The zins are such different animals as the location is pretty marginal for zins, which causes some concentrated spicy zins with strong acid backbone – unlike most zins. I love them, also.

        They’re just very different animals.

        Given that the upcoming release will be a zin, how about we focus on that one?

      • I believe the last Jimsomare Cab was in fact a 1995, and agreed, they’re tremendous offerings assessed via that holy ratio of quality-to-price break … as to the location’s ability to produce zins, you’re not alone in loving the Jimsomare! Stephen Tanzer, one of my favorite reviewers, gave the 2000 a great write-up:

        2000 Zinfandel Jimsomare California: Saturated bright ruby. Liqueur-like aromas of black fruits, violet and grilled steak. Then firm, tight, even a bit tough in the mouth, with penetrating, youthfully tart-edged flavors of black fruits and violet deepened by an Amarone-like raisiny quality. 90.

        And Robert Parker had ample praise for the 1997:

        Wine Advocate 06-1999

        Robert Parker

        One of the greatest old Zinfandels I ever tasted was the 1970 Jimsomare. Ridge rarely bottles this as a single source wine because the vineyard is at such a high elevation that the grapes never fully ripen. That was not the case in 1997. The saturated opaque black/purple-colored 1997 Zinfandel Jimsomare (100% Zinfandel) achieved 14.8% alcohol. It boasts enormously rich, massive, blackberry and cherry flavors, rustic tannin, and a gigantic, monster finish that lasts for over 30 seconds. The wine also exhibits copious quantities of toasty oak. It is by far the most concentrated and immense of the Ridge offerings, as well as the least evolved. Another 6-8 months of bottle age should bring forth more definition and secondary nuances. Moreover, this Zinfandel should age well for 8-10 years.

        As to putting the focus on a zin for our “virtual vertical”, I’m all for it, assuming we get enough participants with Zin Jims they’re prepared to open!

  15. Hurray! I would love to participate in this event, and I think it needs a catchy name… Hmm… We should do this every time something new and spectaculr is going to be released.

    Let’s go digging in the sample room and see what Jimsomare we can find.


  1. Jimsomare “Virtual Vertical” It’s Time To Set The Day! « 4488: A Ridge Blog

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