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Ridge 'Geyserville' Zinfandel Blend Alexander Valley Sonoma 2015 - Vinous Media 94pts (750ml)

Ridge 'Geyserville' Zinfandel Blend Alexander Valley Sonoma 2015 - Vinous Media 94pts (750ml)

Vinous Media 94
It's hard to believe that Ridge's iconic Zinfandel Geyserville celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2015. Today, the wine is quite deep, powerful and unyielding. Of course, the low yields of the vintage have a lot to do with that. I am not surprised winemaker Eric Baugher decided to give the 2015 a few more months in barrel, as there is a lot of stuffing here. The interplay of fruit, aromatics and acidity is compelling. Red cherry jam, pomegranate, rose petal and woodsmoke infuse the finish. The 2015 is going to need time to be at its best, but it is impressive.

The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility. At 2600', it is surrounded by the "upper vineyard". The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres. Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership. A Stanford graduate in philosophy - recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range - he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist. His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward "hands off" approach pioneered at Ridge. Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established. Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.

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