On The Road

Ridge Vineyards maintains a pretty small staff roster overall, and accordingly, we’re a many-hatted lot. This means we all go on the stump at some point, spreading the viticultural message, preaching the oenophilic word, evangelicizing the gospel of the grape.

Given the conventions of the industry, much of this time on the road is spent visiting the usual suspects; restaurants and wine shops primarily (bless them all for their support!). But every now and again, a rather more unusual event comes looming on the horizon, and accordingly, the Ridge-o-lites go on the road to places rather more unconventional …

Such an occasion was on the calendar in the not-too-distant past; the 10th of October to be exact. Our president, Mark Vernon, attended an event at the Sharon Heights Country Club in Menlo Park (Northern California, if you’re not familiar with the area …) called “Soirée du Vin” which, if my high school French still serves me in any capacity, roughly translates to “party of wine.” Sounds like a rather fine event to me!

This was in fact a benefit for the International School of the Peninsula, and while the European Classic Car show was I’m sure wonderful to behold, I have to imagine the primary draw was the following:

Talk by Tyler Thomas,
“Smells like blither, tastes like blather:
exploring our cultural history of aroma appreciation
or lack thereof and how to (NOT) write a tasting note”

Hmmm … I wonder what Mr. Thomas would think about my notes? Just for fun, I decided to go back through some of the notes I’ve written on this blog, to see if I could find a distinctly egregious bit of purple prose-ish excess. Amongst many other examples, I found the following:

…The nose is youthfully funky, compressed, and dense, while the mouthfeel is comparatively lean and spicy; all aspects of the profile are showing quite deliciously, but the overall melodocism is still en route from discordance to harmony…

…the finish is both elegant and muscular, in the way of an Olympic skater perhaps, the acidity flashing bright blades of flavor across the wide rink of your palate, a small yet powerful spectacle of beauty and athleticism…

…wood and bark bracket the aromatics, with hints of dried fruit, exotic cardamom, and a touch of fennel & graphite; there is even a dose of jerked umaminess, and a trace of cured & spiced pepperoni…

…the point-of-entry is predictably tannin-heavy, though as the wine moves to mid-palate, its notable how much blueberry-esque fruit tones begin to emerge from the primordial LaBrea of young petite sirah structure … the finish is tannin, tannin, and more tannin; pleasing tannin, mind you, and cloaking a very sincere and earnest display of kinder/gentler petite sirah inkiness, but this is, at this point, a wine to watch, but not to drink … come winter, when this sees release, look for me, and a wedge of aromatic cheese, to be hiding in your basement, with a candle lit, reading Dickens …

Well, Mr. Thomas, what do you make of all that?

Anyhow, in Mark’s company was the rather appropriate choice of companion Jean-Marie Pratt, one of our wonderful harvest interns this year, and a genuine Frenchman through and through. I have him to thank for the following lovely pics from the event:


Categories: Events & Photographs, Tasting Notes, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine Tales

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