The Old School Is New Again …

You know it’s coming, yet somehow you won’t admit it to yourself. It’s inevitable, of course, but it’s impossible survive the days if you’re in conscious embracement of the facts. Somehow, we have to psychically suspend our realities in order to keep on keepin’ on. But all things must pass.

The news came yesterday. They’d pulled it.

The 2007 Ridge Vineyards Old School was removed from the website. It was over.

Fortunately, the 2009 Ridge Vineyards Old School ain’t too far down the road!

I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s released, but in the meantime, here are some tasting notes, just to keep you going through these tough times …


2009 Ridge Vineyards Old School

As you may or may not know, the Old School designation is actually part of our Geyserville estate, but as it’s a group of vines that traditionally provide fruit that ripens to a greater degree of intensity, the juice is traditionally bottled separately in small amounts under the Old School name, and released as a special winery-only offering.

Stylistically, because of the selection criteria, the Old School favors a flavor profile that can run the gamut from sweet in character (a ripe quality that presents the illusion of sweetness without any actual real and significant amount of residual sugar) to actual sweetness (featuring actual residual sugar).

The 2009 is definitely of the former ilk; while the wine is certainly rich and intensely flavored and fruit-driven, a combination of notable water-stress and early ripening during the growing season, and an aggressive and disciplined selection process at the winery (made possible courtesy of a new receiving and sorting system), have made for a wine of surprising integrity and balance.

In addition to the voluptuousness of the fruit and the generosity of the bouquet, there are strong hints of that classic Geyserville spiciness that creep into the flavor profile at just the right moments. These notes primarily come courtesy of the vineyard-blend model deployed for the assemblage of this wine; the zinfandel (at 78%) is structurally rounded out and enhanced by the inclusion of carignane and petit sirah, two classic “mixed blacks” that also form the architectural backbone of the Geyserville.  

The 2007 Old School was one of our top-selling winery-only wines last year, and while it was a sweeter, riper rendition than the 2009, I think the ’09 is poised to not only keep the ’07 fans very happy, but also accrue a whole new set of believers as well. It’s got the fruit for the ’07 set, but it’s also got the complexity, structure, and spice that should win over some converts who may not normally find themselves on the ripe side of life.

If I may say so, it’s a perfect February wine; it’s got Valentine’s Day written all over it …

Categories: Carignane, Geyserville, Petite Sirah, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Wine Clubs, Zinfandel

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