Ridge Geyserville 2017



This is a seminal wine.

Seminal, for many reasons – logical, sentimental as well as hedonistic.  I reverse the order:

First, this wine is darn delicious.  Big, bold black fruit, red fruit, gratifying aroma and taste, yet with energy and lift on the palate.  Couple that with big-boy richness and what’s not to love?  Here is Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate:

“95 points.

“A first look at the 2017 Geyserville Proprietary Red Wine revealed immense promise. Despite having been in barrel for a mere six months, it’s already offering up complex aromas of raspberries, blackberries, and exotic spice. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, pure and succulent, with superb concentration, a lovely line of ripe acidity and a chalky, fine-grained finish. The wine attained 14.7% alcohol, and Baugher believes it will be one of the best renditions of Geyserville in a decade.”

Second reason, sentimental.  Like many Americans, I was brought into the fine wine world via Zinfandel.  Let’s face it, Zinfandel can be sweet, fruity, high-alcohol, fun stuff.  My first Zin caused the aha moment for me that this is not just alcohol, this is wine.

And then there was Ridge.  Not like other Zinfandels.  Curious…never changing labels, always stating exactly the grape varietal on the front and what the vintage was like on the back.  A recommendation to age.  A comment on the style of wine without trying to make a sales pitch.  Professional, serious, and high-octane all at the same time.

For me, fresh out of college then, nothing could have been more attractive with its heady mix.  As the saying goes in the wine industry, Ridge Zinfandels are where I “cut my teeth” – meaning I learned about ageworthy, great, terroir-specific wine.

And that is Geyserville.  Having begun in 1962, Paul Drapier at Ridge is now in his 55th vintage of Geyserville – a record I don’t think anyone else in the world can match.  I have been told that it is his favorite wine in the Ridge stable.  It shows in this Zin:

It’s ripe and unctuous, offering up luscious tastes of bramble fruit and spice.  There is much concentration on the palate, but the poise and balance is utterly impeccable.  The fruit is high but the tannins, acidity and sheer minerality of the wine hold it all in balance.  The finish is extremely long.  This is, indeed, tremendous wine.

And finally, the third reason: logical.  The 2017 Ridge Geyserville fires on all cylinders: QPR, terroir, and downright deliciousness.

You could spend $150 a bottle on 95-point Napa Cabernet.  Or French Burgundy, or maybe Brunello.  Or, you can crush out Geyserville with coin left to spare for some beautiful baby back ribs, or duck confit, or artisan pizza with pancetta, Taleggio and black truffles.  You know where I’ll be. I encourage you to join me!

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