I’m an unabashed fan of Ridge wines, rarely having experienced a disappointing example. Ridge introduced me to the joys of Zinfandel with its Geyserville label, and continues to provide beautiful Californian wine experiences each time I am lucky enough to taste its wines. Sometimes, one connects with a particular producer’s approach beyond all reason; if I overpraise Ridge wines, understand this is as much an emotional response to context and company as to the wines themselves.
Be that as it may, I defy anyone not to respond positively to the exuberance of this wine’s aroma. It’s powerfully fruity in a way utterly unfamiliar to me, raised as I have been on Australian red wines. There’s rich fruit cake, spice, and an overwhelming sense of completeness that makes this an envelopingly sensual experience. Forget angularity and enjoy the luxe of this wine’s blanket of aromas.
The palate is surprisingly elegant considering the range of flavours and 15.8% abv. Yes, I consider this wine an elegant, balanced wine, despite its scale and technical measurements, which makes its achievement simply more remarkable. Masses of flavour immediately on entry, slinking to a middle palate awash with fruit cake flavours. Clearly, this isn’t a chiselled wine style, but nor is it formless. In fact, there’s plenty of structure, and my only criticism is that these elements don’t cohere as well as they might. The acidity in particular stands out a bit from the rest of the wine. This isn’t nearly enough to derail my enjoyment, however, so I prefer to focus on the immense generosity here, as well as the unexpected freshness of the flavour profile. Alcohol becomes most evident on the finish, which is noticeable hot.
An astonishing wine in many ways. Wines like this will never be considered great, but in their own way they exemplify the purity of a certain regional style.