A new ATP wine has arrived on shore from the blustery viticultural seas! And yes, I admit that’s a weirdly inappropriate nautical metaphor, but a swashbuckling wine like this deserves … well … an eyepatch!
All tomfoolery aside, this really is a wine for the passionate, the daring, the rogueish, the rebel. It’s got fire in its belly, and it recognizes no master but the code of freedom; freedom to live, to laugh, to love!
Now, of course I highly recommend engaging in all the appropriately oenophilic rituals when experiencing this wine; foil cutter, Ah So, decanter, double-decantation, aeration, consideration of the visual, the olfactory, the first plush dance onto the palate floor … But on the other hand, if you just grabbed this bottle by the neck and jumped into whatever fray awaits you, you’d be fine in my book … I mean, you’d be welcome on my ship! My ship of lost souls, on the seas of the damned!
Ok, ok, I’m getting a little carried away again. But I’m TELLING you, tasting this wine makes you feel, I don’t know, FREE! It’s emotionally emancipating, and it makes you feel a little dangerous, a little more willing than usual to take that extra step into the sensual unknown …Perhaps it’s the history of the Grenache in our vineyards; they were a discovery. And an unexpected one at that. So really, Ridge was in fact a wild band of explorers! Seriously though, this “discovery: is documented in the winemaker notes for this wine:
Ridge became involved with grenache quite by accident when, in 1972, we first harvested the vines on the eastern hills of Lytton Springs. Though we didn’t know it then, one of the hills—planted in 1902—had a high percentage of grenache, interplanted with small amounts of zinfandel and petite sirah.
Maybe it’s the age of those elder Grenache vines; they date to 1902, an altogether different era. An era when pirates ruled the seas, and tall tales of their adventures captivated the hearts and minds of young readers everywhere, readers who imagined themselves as those brave and daring ruffians flying across the high seas with nothing to think of but the passion on the moment …
The image above is from Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates, which was published … you guessed it! 1902. So there! The 2004 Lytton Estate Grenache IS SO a pirate wine.
Anyhow, here are some reasonably proper tasting notes:
Deep, deep ruby tones, with a nearly black core, and a subtle magenta limn; substantially viscous glaze in the bowl, that somehow still allow for reasonably narrow and swift legs to do their running …
Spoonful upon spoonful of cocoa powder, shaken over richly ripe black cherries, on a plate piled high with warmed autumnal nutfruits. Very slightly minty, with a faint trace of rootiness as well. Definitely still a little tight in its youth, awaiting a fuller expression of fruit …
Black cherry, black grape, warmed strawberries, blueberry, loganberry, just a whole panoply of low-tone fruit notes, but all decidedly low-acid in character, with an emphasis on dense and darkly fleshy opulence, as opposed to overt vivacity.
A certain degree of chalky tannins and granular minerality counter-weighting the tongue-side acidity that begins to emerge. Powerful on the palate, without being particularly weighty; a rather enticing yet somewhat unfamiliar integration of force and restraint …
By the time I reach the finish, the true decadent power of this wine has become evident; every portion of my palate is covered with a plush duvet of sweetly ripe, yet muscularly structured weaves that twine together fruit, spice, and minerals. It’s as if I’ve dipped my weary tongue into the soothing reward of an autumnal herb and fruit bath at some secluded vineyard spa …
It’s a pirate wine, pure and simple. It’s flamboyant, yet determined. Wild, yet clever. At once aggressively forceful, yet deceptively wily and restrained. It doesn’t trust you right away; rather, it reveals its secrets slowly, only after your palate has proven its mettle. Join its crew, stand by its side through thick and thin, and a treasure chest of rubies is yours …
In closing, both our Lytton Springs and Monte Bello Tasting Rooms are celebrating the release of this wine with the wonderful members of our ATP Program on Saturday night. If you’re an ATP member, and you’re in our respective areas, then we certainly hope you’ll be in attendance. And if you’re in our areas, and not yet an ATP member, this might be a good time to consider membership. I’m just sayin’ …
So, from the deck of my ship, I extend my hook your way, and ask you, “Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?” Then join us! For now is no time to be a drivelswigger! It’s time to climb up Jacob’s Ladder, dodge the Hempen Halter, quit Swinging The Lead, and lift your Black Jack full of wine to the heavens! All Hands Hoay!
Oh, and here’s the specs on the event, just in case!
November After Hours – ATP Members Only
4pm – 7pm at Lytton Springs (Healdsburg) and Monte Bello (Cupertino)
Can’t make it to First Friday, but still want to pick up your ATP shipment? Our After Hours event is just the ticket. Our 2004 Grenache Lytton Estate is king this month, and we’ll pour this new release alongside the 2006 Santa Cruz Mountains Estate cabernet blend. We’ll also be showcasing the 2006 Monte Bello chardonnay; if you haven’t tasted the 2006 vintage yet, you’ll be delighted by this medium bodied chardonnay with notes of ripe pear. And what better pairing than with cheese? Harley Farms joins us at Monte Bello for the evening with their variety of unique cheeses adorned with toppings from flavorful fruits and herbs to edible flowers grown in the garden behind their goat dairy. The Lytton Springs tasting room welcomes Doralice Handal from the Cheese Shop of Healdsburg with an assortment of local artisanal cheeses paired specifically with our wine line-up for the evening.
This event is complimentary for all Ridge ATP Program Members (+1 guest per membership).