Ridge Mataro Pato Vineyard 2003

Going by the label on the back of the bottle, I shouldn’t have waited so long to open it – but it doesn’t seem to matter too much.

It smells like strawberries and cream and/or refrigerated ground beef, but I honestly don’t mean that in a bad way. There’s a briary sweetness hinting at old age there too, blooming into old leather and cologne, oranges and cloves with a good swirl.In the mouth it’s, well, odd: initially a touch sweet, quickly replaced with milky chocolate tannin and savory red berries. Then, suddenly, the wine rears up with a harsh whack of acidity, explodes with alcohols, and settlies down into a long, harmonious finish of citrus peel and nutmeg.

It doesn’t all hang together particularly well; it’s like watching a Hollywood blockbuster with five screenwriters, two of them uncredited. Sure, every scene is a pleasure unto itself, but the narrative arc is just a little bit lacking here.

That being said, it’s surprisingly delicious and moderately complex. Bandol it’s not, but it’s a fine drink.

Price: US $30
Closure: Cork

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