Zinfandel tagged posts

The Brilliant Wines of Ridge

October 4, 2016 News and Opinion  No comments

IMGP6222In the last year I've had the pleasure of visiting two of Ridge's most famous vineyards: Lytton Springs in Sonoma and Monte Bello in the Santa Cruz mountains high above Silicon Valley.  Those two vineyards, along with Geyserville, make up the top bottlings for Ridge, and have for over 40 years.   During that time, very little has changed and the result is one the longest-lived wines in the U.S. (Monte Bello) and two of the most American wines (Lytton Springs and Geyserville).

Here are some of the reasons I love Ridge:

Monte Bello is one of the longest-lived wines in the country.  This year, I tasted a vertical of the '88, '03 and '12 and they were all brilliant.  That's especially impressive considering '88 was a poor vintage in California and the wine was 28 years

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Ridge Scores Again with ’13 Lytton Springs (AG95, $31.95)

October 29, 2015 90+ Bargains  No comments

IMG_5471Another year and another post on Ridge's Lytton Springs.  This Zinfandel-based wine is a perennial favorite of mine, but unlike most of my favorites (I'm looking at you L'Aventure), pricing on Ridge wines remains remarkably low for what's in the bottle.  The Ridge 2013's have been very well reviewed (the Lytton Springs just received 95 points from Antonio Galloni) and a visit to the stunning mountaintop winery last week confirmed the hype.


As I was driving up to the winery, the GPS said 4 miles and 20 minutes.  I thought it must be a mistake, but sure enough, after winding up the steep mountain road for 20 minutes, I arrived at the tasting room.  The tasting room soars over Silicon Valley and from its perch, you can see Apples new "space ship"

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An American Classic: ’10 Ridge Lytton Springs RP93+

December 3, 2012 90+ BargainsHigh End Values  No comments

2010 Ridge Lytton SpringsI am, admittedly, not a huge Zinfandel fan.  I find most overripe, pruney and a little thin.  That said, Ridge makes two of my favorite wines - not favorite Zinfandels, but favorite overall wines - the Lytton Springs and Geyserville.  I've had every vintage since '06 and they are all great.  Some greater than others, but all truly great.  Ridge is doing awesome things with the most American of grapes, which has been growing in this country since the mid 1800's.

The 95 point, 2009 vintage of this wine was closed down when I drank it in September.  After a day of air, it showed beautifully, but today, the 2010 is the wine to drink.  It has a beautiful perfumed nose of lavender and cherry with a broad mouthfeel and a very long finish.  This isn't technically a Zinfandel, with 23% Petite

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The Next Coming of The Prisoner: Coppola Director’s Cut Cinema

July 2, 2012 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

I was a big fan of Orin Swift's "The Prisoner" when it came out.  So much so that it was the first wine I spent real money on.  The receipt below shows I spent $210.28 on a six pack at over $35 per bottle!

The price of The Prisoner has dropped since then, but in my opinion, so has the quality.  I thought maybe my tastes had just changed, so I opened my last bottle of the 2005 vintage The Prisoner earlier this year and confirmed I do indeed like that wine better than the last several releases (they are now on 2010).  As so often happens with popular wines, the temptation to increase production caused quality to diminish.

I have never tasted a wine quite like the early versions of The Prisoner until now.  And, it came from an unexpected source:

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Ridge Lytton Springs ’08 – Perfectly balanced. $29.95 RP93

April 17, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

In my humble opinion, Ridge makes the best Zinfandel in the country.  Plain and simple.  I'm admittedly not a huge Zin drinker because the super high alcohol, sweet style doesn't appeal to me.  In fact, some Zins are so sweet that I'm sure there is residual sugar, much like dessert wines.  That fact got me wondering why I like the Zinfandel grape at the hands of Ridge's capable winemaker.  So, I read the label.

Though most modern wine labels focus on pretty pictures (gimmicks), Ridge actually includes useful information on theirs.  There I discovered the answer to my question.  Ridge Lytton Springs only contains 14.4% alcohol.  It's not uncommon to see Zins above 16%.  It's also perfectly dry.  Since sugar equals alcohol, the picture is all of the sudden becoming clear.  Reading on,

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Deal Alert: 2005 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel WS88 $6.99

March 31, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

This week I posted a question about Ridge Zinfandels on Facebook and got great responses.  This got me thinking about Zinfandel today when I stopped into LA Wine Co.  Luckily there was an enormous stack of this INSANE deal right in the back to feed our loyal fans' Zinfandel fever.  This is $6 cheaper than the lowest price I can find in the country.  I haven't had a chance to taste it yet but with over 100 cases already sold I wanted to alert our readers before it's no longer available.  The 88 point Wine Spectator score and the reputation should speak for itself.
Buy Here: 2005 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel $6.99
Wine Spectator 88 points

"Dense and concentrated, yet offers a rich core of pure wild raspberry fruit, with accents of white pepper, dried cherry, fresh sage

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A $7 Daily Drinking Fiasco from Tobin James

March 10, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  One comment

Tobin James is known for their Zinfandel, Syrah and their "country party" themed tasting room in the heart of the Central Coast's Paso Robles wine region.  If you're ever in the area, it's worth checking out their tasting saloon and picking up one of their signature star patches for the memory book.  Their wines are well reviewed, popular and range in price from $12 to $150.

Producers like Tobin James are often contracted to make wines for "private label" applications at grocery stores or restaurants.  Rumor has it, Tobin James created the Titan Hills label for one of those private label projects, but somehow the deal fell through, so we the consumer are left with an incredible value they call "Fiasco".  Maybe the name hints at how this wine made it to the market?

This weekend, I

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Zin Deal of the Year- Norman 2004 Old Vine half bottles $4.99

January 26, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

Wasn't I just saying there is no real old vine wine in the U.S. except Zinfandel?  Now is your opportunity to taste some of the finest wine from vineyards that are 115 years old!  The location of these vineyards might be a surprise to many.

The Cucamonga Valley in Southern California's Riverside County is the location of some of the oldest vineyards in the United States.  In its heyday, before Prohibition, it was home to more vineyards than Napa and Somoma counties combined.  But alas, many of those vineyards were let go during prohibition and later overtaken by urban sprawl as Los Angeles grew to encompass multiple counties.

The few vineyards that are left make some of the country's best Zinfandel and Norman's "Old Vines" certainly doesn't disappoint.  If you've had Opolo's Zins

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Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot #52- Top under $10 value.

November 19, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

There really aren't very many stand-out domestic red wines under the $10 price point.  So discovering Marietta Cellars' Old Vine Red non-vintage "Lot #52" bottling was a real pleasure for me.  And isn't pleasure what wine is about after all?  You don't drink it to quench your thirst.  If you do, it might be time to take a vacation from the vino...

Pleasure is the name of the game with this wine and you don't have to believe me.  Here's what Robert Parker has to say about this perennial value:
"If readers have not yet learned the formula here, it is: Marietta Cellars equals high quality, modest prices and considerable pleasure!" - Robert Parker
What is it made out of?  Who cares?  It tastes like good wine.  Seriously, it's mostly Zinfandel with a kitchen sink worth of other varietals.

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