Friday, September 10, 2010


Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel

I had a very nice end to a horrible drive in Los Angeles a while back at, of all places, Marie Callendar's .  I was an hour and a half late picking up Denise after work, but so was everybody else.  What will probably go down in L.A. history as Obama Jam - the afternoon the Secret Service closed Olympic Boulevard for about ten miles due to the President's visit - caused every single commuter to run so late it wasn't even funny.

Denise and some of her cohorts at KNX radio went across Wilshire to Marie Callendar's to wait out the closure.  When I arrived, there was good company, lots of laughs and a Ridge Zinfandel to greet me.  All combined, everything quickly seemed to be alright in my world.

There was a lot of shop talk and one other wine lover in the group.  We both enjoyed the Ridge Three Valleys Zin.

This wine is made from the grapes of seven vineyards, and has a varietal makeup that suggests that it's a field blend, although I don't know if that's the case.  It's 74% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, 4% Mataro, 3% Syrah and 3% Grenache.  The alcohol level is 14.2% abv, somewhat tame by California Zinfandel standards.

As the winery says, "Zinfandel fruit determines the wine's varietal character; old-vine Carignane contributes its own bright fruit and acidity; Petite Sirah and Syrah add peppery spice, depth of color, and firm tannins; Grenache brings briar fruit and lively tannins."

Three Valleys Zinfandel is fermented in stainless steel and aged in 100% American oak.  33% of the barrels are new and one-year old, 20% are two years old, and 47% five to six years old.  It spends nine months in barrels.

The color is dark, but not inky.  Cherry comes through on the nose, with some pepper and a nice earthy tone.  Minerals and a brambly dark fruit flavor make the palate expressive.  The tannins are firm, but not overpowering, while the finish is long and savory.

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