2009 Ridge Zinfandel Geyserville

Year: 2009
Appellation: Sonoma County
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 94
Connoisseurs' Guide: 90
Red Wine
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"The 2009 Geyserville is a gorgeous wine. It shows expressive inner perfume, sweet black cherries, menthol and minerals. This is an understated, exceptionally elegant red endowed with considerable finesse and fabulous overall balance. A round, sensual finish makes it impossible to resist a second taste. In 2009 the blend is 74% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Mourvedre. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2029.

I tasted a breathtaking array of wines during my recent visit with Paul Draper at Ridge. Draper is a true American icon, so it’s great to see him doing well after a bout with illness. I also tasted a number of older wines, including several Monte Bellos going back to the 1970s. Heretical as it may sound, I think the wines Draper is making today will prove to be far superior to the wines of decades past, many of which are rightly considered legendary. For ease of reference I have also included notes on all of the Ridge wines made outside the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Chardonnays are fermented with native yeasts and go into barrel with their gross lees, which are stirred once a week. The malos usually start the following spring. The wines are assembled just before the following harvest and go back into neutral oak. Aging is about 15 months for the Estate and 17 months for the Chardonnay Monte Bello, with a maximum of 25% new barrels. The reds are fermented with ambient yeasts, undergo malolactic fermentation in tank (except for the Monte Bello which is mostly done in barrel) and stay on their gross lees until the following spring." (WA)

"Ridge Geyserville bottlings are often among the more complex and well-balanced Zins to be had, and this young, firmly built opus reminds of claret in terms of its structure. It is moderately fruity if still a little tight and constrained back its finishing acids, and it has the depth to relax, expand and improve for five or more years. Reviewed: September 2011" (CG)

Winery Notes:
Saturated ruby color. Penetrating cherry/plum fruit, black tea, pepper/clove spice, gravel, tar, mint. Fresh bramble entry, polished tannins. Opulent, balanced, complete. -Eric Baugher

Despite limited winter rains, perfect weather during bloom helped set a decent-size crop. Persistent heat in July and August ripened the grapes during September. Each parcel fermented on natural yeasts; uninoculated malolactic finished in December. For the first time, instead of an early assemblage, we racked the separate lots to american oak to begin aging. In March, we assembled those most char- acteristic of the vineyard. Fifteen months in barrel has integrated fruit and spice. This fine wine is enjoyable now; its structure and firm acidity will allow continued development over the next ten to fifteen years. EB (9/10)