Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Almost complete Ridge Geyserville vertical - part 2

Ross Bott's epic 5 part Geyserville retrospective continued on Monday evening with a look at the vintages 1980 to 1987. Starting in 1978 Ridge had begun blending a small amount of Petite Sirah. This trend continues in most years, with 1985 seeing the first addition of Carignan.

I found this round much easier to rank than the first. There were two clearly outstanding examples, two that were either dead or flawed, or possibly both, and the rest fitted reasonably well between them, with no outliers like the 'late picked' wines from the 1970s. The wines all stated their acohol content within a 2% range. The overall results were far more consistent, with most of the group in rough agreement on the preferred order.

1980 Ridge Geyserville (100% Zinfandel, 14.6%)
The nose at first seemed woody and simple, but gradually developed to reveal some nice dried fruit. On the palate there was a mass of mature, dark raspberry fruit and a long finish. This was my favourite and was the evening's clear winner, with almost everyone ranking it in their top three.

1981 Ridge Geyserville (85% Geyserville, 15% Angeli, 100% Zinfandel, 14.4%)
The nose showed notes of brett and leather; brett showed on the palate too; perhaps a little too much but not overpowering. There was enough dried fruit to back it up. 5th overall.
1982 Ridge Geyserville (95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah, 12.6%)
There was an odd note to the nose reminiscent of a Gueuze, the Belgian lambic beer; almost medicinal. Some tart cranberry fruit, quick finish. I was surprised that it finished 4th overall. 

1983 Ridge Geyserville (95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah, 13.4%)
It was clear from the start that this one was dead. There was some discussion as to whether it was corked or oxidised or both. Beyond the obvious flaws there was some menthol on the nose and a hint of fruit still discernable, but it was no big surprise to learn that this was the 1983 and it finished last.

1984 Ridge Geyserville (90% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 13.4%)
Nose of black raspberry; tart red fruit flavours and a brine note to the finish. I liked it rather more than the group did; it finished 6th overall.
1985 Ridge Geyserville (85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignan, 13.3%)
The nose had candy notes, with 'red vines' and caramel and some dried herbs. Nice flavours of tart raspberry but a quick, drying finish and it seemed to be fading. Overall 3rd.

1986 Ridge Geyserville (84% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignan, 13.2%)
There was a very odd note to the nose that reminded me of some kind of air freshener or lavatory puck. It was dry, leafy and tart, improving slightly with time. There was some discussion as to whether the bottle was corked but I didn't think so. A disappointing showing from what should have been a good vintage. 7th

1987 Ridge Geyserville (88% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignan, 13.7%)
Like the 1980, the nose was at first not very expressive; faint notes of leather and fruit. But then mature blackberry fruit exploded on the palate followed by a nice herbal finish. A wine that seemed way younger than its 25 years. Both mine and the group's 2nd.


Mark said...

Hi Dave,

Saw your link over on the blogroll at Fermentation. Interesting stuff on Ridge. It's a fun visit, even for those of us lucky to be in the wine business as well-I'd love to get to do part of the vertical at some point!