50% Zinfandel, 30% Carignan, 20% Petite Sirah
Color: Deep, purple-tinged.
Nose: Intense fruit. Blackberry, raspberry, bing cherry, plum. Mint/cedar/earth. Intriguing.
Palate: Elements from the nose follow through in the mouth. Round, firm tannins, exquisite balance.
For twenty-six years, our Geyserville wines have shown the quality and individuality of the vineyard site. Late-spring rains in 1991provided much-needed ground water, while a warm indian summer ensured full ripeness. Intense petite sirah from the Railroad Block and ripe carignan from the 19th century Triangle and Whitten Blocks shine against the rich background of old-vine zinfandel. Elegant, accessible and well-structured, this wine, like its predecessors, will age beautifully.
In the late spring of 1991, heavy rains ensured good water levels in the root zone of our non-irrigated Geyserville Vineyard. The rains and cool weather, however, delayed fruit formation, moving the whole season back several weeks. The old vines set a good (read: not overlarge) crop, but the younger vines were laden with enough extra clusters that we became concerned about getting the grapes completely ripe. To have the best chance at full maturity, we opened up these head-trained vines to let in more sunlight—and to help air circulation in case autumn rains overtook us. We also thinned the clusters—eliminating almost a quarter of the crop. An unusually mild indian summer, which extended through October, gave us the full, even ripeness we seek. In assembling the separately-fermented wines from various sections of the vineyard, we found the petite sirah to be extraordinarily intense and spicy. Carignan from the 19th century Triangle Block was included early on, while that from equally old vines on Whitten Ranch was aged separately until just a month before bottling. In our final pre-bottling tastings, that wine’s rich, full character contributed markedly to the Geyserville, so we included it as well.
The balance of the ’91 Geyserville is such that even our typical light fining with fresh egg whites was not necessary. Twenty-five percent of the wine was aged in new, air-dried american oak, and the remainder in two and three-year-old american oak. A vine count of the blocks at Geyserville shows zinfandel at considerably less than the seventy-five percent required for varietal labeling. Soils, exposure, and varietal mix give the wine an individuality of character that can be traced throughout the twenty-six vintages Ridge has made. It is not just great wine, it is inimitably Geyserville. Rich, full, elegant, it is immediately accessible, yet has a history of developing further with extended bottle age.
Average Rating: 91.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 53
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