Earlier this year I was delighted to be invited to the first Ridge Wine Blogger Tasting. That day we met at Monte Bello and did a memorable vertical tasting: Monte Bello I missed the second, rhone varietal tasting in July, but made it to Lytton Springs for a vertical in September. For this last tasting of the year, we met back at Monte Bello and tasted both three wines that were pairings for their calling all cooks contest: Calling All Cooks and a random assortment of mystery wines. Wines that would provide letters and allow us to solve an anagram to receive a prize. With helpful hints from the always delightful Christopher Watkins, you will be pleased to know that we succeeded. Challenge explained
As those who read regularly know, I'm not much for tasting notes. Below you'll find a few notes on the wines tasted, done much in the style of the Wine Bloggers Conference live blogging session. I have to say for me one of the joys of these tastings has been the opportunity to taste so many different vintages. Even, as I said yesterday, the 02 which makes me feel a bit guilty each time, as I still have not acquired a case of birth year wine for K.
07 Monte Bello Chardonnay around 1000 cases 14.4% alcohol Some heat from the alcohol. Smooth, rounded, yeast.
08 Buchignani Carignane Northern most property in Sonoma that they work with. 100% Carignane 13.9% Pepper, acid balance
08 East Bench Zinfandel Youngest vines for their nationally distributed zins. One of the food pairings with a grilled sandwich. 3000 cases. 14.9% 100% zin. Big, fruity, some oak and tannin.
07 Lytton Estate Zin to be released next year. Labeled as primitivo. Young planting on the Lytton block. Planted in the early 2000s. 15.2 93% zin 4% carignane 3% petite sirah Sturdy, young, concentrated. Deep cherry flavors. Herbal note.
03 Geyserville Zin Beef Tenderloin pairing for their food contest Holding the deep color. Oak on the palate. Still strong tannins. 76% Zin, 18% carignanae, 6 % Petite Sirah 14.6%
02 Nervo Zin 92% Zin 8% petite sirah 14.9% 39 barrels produced Lots of tannin. Fruit fading?
02 Lytton Estate Grenache 75% Grenache 13% Petite sirah 9% Zinfandel 14.7% Age has made it more rounded but tannins are still hanging on.
03 Lytton West Syrah Only ever national Rhone varietal offering. Some real sweetness. 91% syrah 9% viognier 14.8% Beaucastel clones, purchased from Tablas Creek.
07 Old School (new name for Independence School) Just released. Current ATP. 15.2% 100% zin Lots of jam, dark berry 3% residual sugar, hot year
03 Independence School 88% Zin 9% Carignane 3% Petite Sirah 15.4% Again, big, jam, deep fruit, still youthful. Need a leather chair and a fireplace.
2000 Monte Bello 75% cab 23% merlot 2% Cab Franc 13.4% alcohol Winner of "taste of Paris" rematch.
Mystery wines: Ridge Alicante Bouschet Pagani! This was a special treat brought by one of our tasting group. Three truly mystery wines. We were told only that they were from Ridge and from the twentieth century. Suffice it to say that I guess wrong. Thanks Allan! As was said yesterday, oh so pretty.
07 Essence 16.95 rs 13.5% 77% zin 23% Petite sirah Yummy may be the best descriptor.
This would be a lovely post-holiday meal sip. After all, I have the fireplace and the leather couch.