Friday night in California for #newwinethisweek
It’s been a rough couple of weeks and the decision was made that we deserved a bit of a treat just for getting through it, and to celebrate the improving health of a loved one.
This week’s choice for our #newwinethisweek project was Zinfandel from California so there could be no better excuse needed to uncork a bottle from one of the finest producers in the US, Ridge Geyserville 2011. The problem was I didn’t simply want to pop and pour, it needed a bit of breathing time, so I needed to find something suitable for the opening act.
Any of you who regularly read my posts will know that I’m quite fond of a theme when I taste wines, so I was delighted to discover a bottle of California white wine hiding at the back of the fridge. And not just any bottle, but a bottle from one of the most exciting wine producers in the new world, a bottle of Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2011. I first discovered Sandhi wines when I attended a tasting event at Roberson last year (link to review here) and have been enjoying them ever since… it didn’t let us down:
Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2011 (Roberson £29.95)
The nose has a wonderfully bright and zingy burst of citrus with lemons and grapefruit jumping out of the glass; in the background there is a slight nuttiness and hints of hot toast and butter. On the palate the precise streak of acidity as tight and tense but opens up to reveal the citrus delight and minerality that you usually associate with top-end Chablis. But there is even more at play here with a creamy undertone and a delightful nutty and toasty depth and length. A real classy wine – even better than the bottles I’ve had previously. 93 points
That gave the Zin 90 minutes or so to open up.
Paul Draper, the winemaker at Ridge has now produced 43 vintages at Ridge and is regarded by most as one of the very best in California. The estate shot to fame after a good showing for the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Ridge Monte Bello 1971 at the famous Judgement of Paris and has gone from strength to strength.
Ridge Geyserville 2011 (The Wine Society £29.00)
78% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah, 1% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Mataro.
Smells like cherries and blackberries dipped in a silky, smoky chocolate-vanilla sauce – oh so enticing – they say you can’t smell sweetness, but I’m sure I can! A very delicate attack (too harsh a word actually) with ripe and sweet black fruit then layer upon layer of flavour; chocolate, oaky smoke and vanilla, you taste them individually then they mingle together in a very stylish whole. The texture is silky smooth, almost creamy, then the classy tannins take a light grip and the smoky-vanilla finish lingers for 30 seconds. I’m actually a big fan on Zin but the elegance of the Geyserville has raised the bar and my expectation. So enjoyable right now but will get better and better over the next years. 93+ points
I am now even more excited about my trip to California in the summer… bring it on!