Sunday, March 22, 2009

Black Ridge Vineyards

On a slope overlooking Lexington Reservoir sits the 70 acre Black Ridge estate. Grapes were grown on the site before Prohibition; it later became a prune farm and more recently grew Christmas trees.

The site has great views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and downtown San Jose. Several impressive buildings have been erected, including one which may house the winery that is still under construction.

Beginning in 2000 owners Fred Faltersack and Jim Landes began planting vines. Around 22 acres are planted, with 11 different varieties. The first vintage was produced in 2005 by Jeffrey Patterson of Mount Eden Vineyards; subsequent vintages have been made by Bill Brosseau at Testarossa. All wines use 100% estate fruit

2007 Viognier
The only white currently produced, it has a lovely fresh fruity/floral nose, with apricots and canteloupe. Flavour soft pear and vanilla with a rich, creamy mouthfeel and a crisp, oaky finish.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
Smoky, brambly nose. Plenty of acidity and tannin, but the fruit seemed a bit muted.

2006 San Andreas Red
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
Bright, fruity nose showing redcurrant. Good balance, with plum and blackberry flavours. Tannins on the finish seemed a little harsh.

2006 Cabernet Franc
Nice tobacco and cedar notes backed by blackcurrant and blueberries. Rich, well structured. Dry, tannic finish.

Also on offer were barrel samples of a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, made by assistant winemaker Ashley DuBois. A sample from neutral oak showed bright, pure brambly fruit with a rich, smooth finish. The sample from new French oak added notes of caramel and coffee, while the fruit remained pure and focused. This looks like being an excellent debut release for Ashley.


Tim Corliss said...

Great weekend of tasting Dave. That Viognier sounds right up my alley.

Wes Barton said...

I'll get my notes up soon, but my observation, having tasted the '05 Cab and '06 San Andreas a couple times before, is that they are shedding some of their tannins and the fruit is just beginning to open up. I know others have liked these, but I'd found them a little dull (though, well made). Now, they're showing some intriguing personality and I'll think they be really singing in another 2 years.

Dave said...

Cheers Wes. I couldn't find my notes from the other time that I tasted them, but if I remember rightly they showed a lot more oak then. It's good that they are settling down. I look forward to reading your thoughts.