Ridge Buchignani Ranch Carignane 2006

Splashing into the glass, this is purple beyond belief. It’s as if Harold of purple crayon fame (or any toddler) imagined a glass of wine and drew it with the brightest crayon in the box.

It smells like a caricature of “fine wine” as well, having much more in common with Bohemian college dreams of sneaking into an Tuscan hayloft with the farmer’s daughter (or the strapping young man who drives the tractor, your tastes depending). It’s a lush, ripe sort of thing; you think of flowers heavy with nectar delivered days earlier, drooping on your sideboard. And yet it’s also fresh, vibrant, filled with the smell of a verdant California spring.

The fullness took me aback, followed by a full city roast coffee finish with extremely subdued tannins. The flavors are fairly straightforward, sure, but a lot of delicious foods are beautiful in their simplicity. To drink this wine is to throw your mind back to the harvest, when the earth’s fullness and abundance gave itself up just as leaves began falling dead to the ground; it’s a quick, jolting reminder to enjoy what you have before the frost.

Drink this with your mistress, preferably with black Moroccan olives and just-baked bread.

Price: about $30
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008

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