ZAP Pre-Taste: Tasting Notes!

Ok, now we’re into the real nitty gritty!

But first, if you need to catch up, here are the previous and relevant posts:

Ok, so here is the list of the wines that Eric and I tasted:

2009 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville (barrel sample)

2009 Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch (barrel sample)

2008 Ridge Vineyards Carmichael Ranch (in bottle, winery-only offering, pre-release)

2008 Ridge Vineyards Buchignani Ranch (in bottle, winery-only offering, pre-release)

2006 Mazzoni Home Ranch (current release, winery-only)

2009 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles (in bottle, pre-release)

2007 Ridge Vineyards Old School (in bottle, winery-only offering, pre-release)

And here are some tasting notes! Hopefully, you’ll get to taste these at ZAP, and we can compare! I’ll be at the Ridge table Saturday afternoon, so don’t hesitate to say hello!

2009 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville (barrel sample)

Quite high-toned color, with a light, fresh, buoyant nose expressing lovely perfume and florality; very pretty! … Seamlessly structured, not a bump in the road; no bite, no aggress, no discordance, no nothing, just perfectly structured … fascinating hints of sweet baked apple pie, with the requisite sampling of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other such spices … the high tone aspects continue into the palate as well; lot of bright cherry notes coming through … the late assemblage MO that Eric employed has paid off handsomely as regards the complexities, there is an awful lot going on in this wine, and it’s all beautiful …

2009 Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch (barrel sample)

Utterly beautiful color! And classically Pagani-esque aromatics; rich, compressed, laden with a potpourri of pressed flower leaves, grilled orange pepper, and all-spice, with a great briny layer as well … Very light on the palate, very clean minerality, hinting at cornflower and talc … brighter, leaner acidity that the past couple of vintages, reminiscent of the 2006, one of my personal favorite Paganis … even delivers an almost Grenache-like dose of blood orange at the end! A great Pagani in my estimation, though again, a leaner, brighter one …

2008 Ridge Vineyards Carmichael Ranch (in bottle, pre-release)

This is just an ARCHETYPAL Ridge Zinfandel, perfectly expressing everything we love to do with zin production; it’s got pepper, it’s got exotic spices, it’s fleshy without being flabby, its opulent without being ostentatious, it’s fruit-forward without being over-ripe, it’s both professorially dignified yet sensuously giving … in short, delicious! … While Eric and I were tasting this wine, I started talking to it; I said, “Oh yeah, I’m drinking you tonight, I’m drinking all of you! I’m drinking most of you at dinner, and then I’m taking you to bed, and we’re going to take advantage of one another!” … That’s what I said. To this wine. When I was talking to it.

2008 Ridge Vineyards Buchignani Ranch (in bottle, pre-release)

If the above was quintessential Ridge, this is quintessential Buchignani. Funky, rich, concentrated and earthy, with loads of lower-tone boysenberry and blackberry notes, layers of dried herbs counterbalanced by a potent pepperiness, and a very firm tannin layer that definitely takes front seat while acidity rides in the back … This is one to watch, but still a little too muscular for current consumption …

2006 Ridge Vineyards Mazzoni Home Ranch (current release)

A consistently fantastic old-vine designation, and this a fantastic vintage. Rich, ripe, but tempered, in supreme balance … this has all the qualities of zin that, when excessive, can be negatives, but when integrated, are just pure delight … lean mouthfeel, great acidity courtesy of the high percentage of carignane, lovely old-vine concentration and significant yet supple minerality … an extraordinary food wine that had Eric and I rhapsodizing about tapas for a good ten minutes … the subtle hint of kirsch adds a nicely sweet underlayer beneath the exotic spice and the vibrant acidity … waiter, another dish of patatas bravas!

2009 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles

Sweet, ripe, woody, great notes of cherry tobacco on the rose; pretty classic Paso fruit … Given the distinctly different micro-climate within which this fruit is grown, I’d say this is a very honest central coast zin offering, and very in keeping with previous vintages; particularly the 2007; with 2006 being notably leaner, and 2008 being somewhat uniquely more multi-dimensioned then Paso fruit can sometimes be … this is probably not the most complex zin in the Ridge portfolio, but its fewer dimensions are still good ones, and for those who like a riper style without the alcohol levels that tend to come with that style, this should be a great offering …

2007 Ridge Vineyards Old School

Wonderful red-wood character to the aromomatics, with a succulent savoriness reminiscent of a good cigar soaked in cherry juice or brandy … the sweet tobacco character permeates through to the palate as well, as do the cherry notes, making for a richly flavored, sweet and savory offering … there are also hints of caramel apple afoot, the tangy citricity from which lends itself well to the structure, and opulence of the fruit …

And just in case you missed it from a previous post, the greatest tasting note movie ever shot!

Categories: Carignane, Events, Food & Wine Pairing, Geyserville, Offerings, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Video, Zinfandel

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