2005 Ridge York Creek Zinfandel

Price: $27.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Located high on Spring Mountain, overlooking the Napa Valley, York Creek Vineyard has been the source for some of Ridge’s most notable zins. Aged in a combination of new, two and four year old oak allows the vineyard and the varietal’s mountain iterations to shine through. The addition of petite sirah adds richness and structure. Bound to be another Ridge favorite, grab some for your cellar and watch this develop over the next five or six years.”

What I Think:

This is a wine recently given to me by my wife to celebrate a special occasion. I loved the 2003 Ridge, put a half case of the ’04 in the cellar and decided to open this one to celebrate New Year’s. Given the write-up above has no mention of tasting notes it likely should have been an indicator to let it lie a little longer. Of course I didn’t heed the advice. Like the others I had tried the Petite Sirah in this field blend already added a subtleness that you wouldn’t expect in a Zinfandel. Unfortunately the time in the bottle has yet to allow the flavors to shine through. Or perhaps it was the sub-optimal pairing with roasted chicken. Either way this wasn’t the revelation I was hoping for. It doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the offering but should this make it my way again I’ll give it a couple more years in the bottle. I recommend you do the same.

By the way, interestingly I noticed that the blend does change slightly from year to year which I initially did not expect from a field blend, guessing it is based on yields, any other thoughts?

Rating: Pricey

2003 Ridge York Creek Zinfandel

Price: $30.00 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “2003 Zinfandel, York Creek, bottled May 2005
84% zinfandel, 16% petite sirah

Since 1999, this dry-farmed Spring Mountain vineyard has produced a series of opulent, late-picked wines. In this vintage, weather conditions and close attention to varying ripeness within each block have resulted in a zinfandel reminiscent of the seventies and eighties, more in the style of a fine table wine. The eight parcels fermented separately on their natural yeasts, and were pressed at eight days; a natural malolactic finished in four weeks. The firm structure of this classic York Creek required extended barrel aging. Beautifully balanced and approachable now, it will benefit from a year or two in bottle, and develop fully over the next ten years. PD/EB (2/05)”

What I Think:

I can count the number of times that I have paid more than $25 for a bottle of wine on one hand. Before finding this one the amount that I thought were worth it didn’t even require a hand to count on. This was my second, yes I bought two at once, and last bottle of this wine. I had it for the first time a few years back at their tasting room in Sonoma. Shortly before visiting I had read a story about “field blended” wines, which are quite hard to find and usually pricey, and the difference from the normal blends you see on the shelf at the store. A normal blend, to me, is almost scientific. Each grape in the blend is grown individually in different vineyards (or at least separate parcels at the same one), harvested individually and barreled individually until it becomes time to put it in the bottle. At this time, we begin playing science. Let’s try a bit of this, a bit of that until we get it right then voila! We have our blend. This is obviously a laymen’s impression of how this works, I am sure it is much more difficult and requires much more attention than indicated here but I obviously have a bias here. The field blends on the other hand were planted that way. When you get out in the vineyard they are all mixed up, no separate parcels here. You have them all growing intermixed, they are all harvested together, barreled together, aged together until they find their way to the bottle. In this case it seems you get what you get!

And with this wine you sure do get it! In a word, Awesome! This is likely the best bottle of wine I have ever had. I enjoyed it so much I didn’t even really want to take the time to analyze why I was doing so. The nose is full of dark fruit and very inviting. The structure is round, rich, plush any good word you can think of. This wine is perfectly balanced and integrated, showing layers upon layers of varying flavors and complexity. The finished is smooth, long and lasting. I had the wine a week ago and I can almost still taste it. My friend, whom we had over to dinner that night, remarked that it was better than most of the $100 bottles he had and he has had plenty! A few days later we went to the store and split a case of the 2004! It is going to take a lot of restraint to leave those alone! I would have loved to see what this wine is like in a few more years. The winery still has the ’03 available, maybe I will swing by. If you want to splurge, this is money well spent.

Rating: Cellar It