62% Zinfandel, 15% Carignan, 18% Petite Sirah, 5% Mataro
Deep, purple-edged ruby. Raspberry/blueberry; alluring tropical fruit, a hint of orange zest, sweet oak, vanilla bean. Lush blackberry fruit predominates, complemented by elements carried over from the nose. Beautifully integrated tannins, exquisite balance, amazing finish for a wine so young.
The ’95 is our thirtieth vintage from this great site. After a late spring, and moderate temperatures during the growing season, a warm fall (and well-thinned vines) guaranteed full ripeness. The first fermentations showed lovely fruit, yet seemed to lack structure and firmness. To achieve it, we allowed the zinfandel from two parcels to soak overnight on petite sirah skins and, in the assemblage, included some five percent more of that varietal than usual. The resulting wine is one of the finest Geyservilles we have made in this decade. Typically awkward in its first year, it will be most appealing around the turn of the century, and reach full maturity by 2010.
Since 1966, Ridge has made thirty successive vintages from the Trentadue vineyard at Geyserville; we signed a long-term lease for the old Whitten Ranch portion of the property in 1990. All the zinfandel —with the exception of three small blocks—is planted on the thirty-six leased acres, guaranteeing us these exceptional grapes for several decades to come.
Unexpected rain in late spring, just as the clusters were finishing set,slightly reduced what would otherwise have been a large crop. Asthe grapes developed, we cut crop size by an additional twenty percent through cluster-thinning, ensuring the quality and intensity of what remained. A long summer provided ideal conditions; a burst of heat in early September brought the fruit to final ripeness. The first grapes were harvested in the second week of September, the majority of zinfandel and petite sirah in the last days of the month. As usual, the nineteenth-century mixed-varietal plantings—the block of Whitten Ranch known as Old Patch—arrived later, in the first week of October. The hundred-fifteen-year-old carignan and the young mataro were harvested in mid-October
Most of the grapes were fermented in small tanks, with about forty percent submerged below the surface of the liquid. The remainder were allowed to float; their juice was pumped over the skins extensively for maximum extraction of color and tannin. Combining the separate parcels, we decided that the zinfandel would gain in depth and fullness if soaked overnight on the petite sirah skins. Eighteen percent petite sirah was included in the final blend—one of the highest proportions of that varietal ever included in a Geyserville. Twenty percent of the wine was aged in new, air-dried american oak, almost fifty percent in two- and three-year-old barrels, the rest in four- and five-year-old barrels. After more than a year in wood, the wine is beautifully integrated, showing concentrated fruit in balance with the oak. Tannins are firm and chalky, but round. The wine is beginning to show well, and has the potential to age for many years. During the first four or five, it will exhibit the fresh fruit of youth. Additional complexity—at the expense of forward fruit—will develop with ten years of bottle age.
The Wine Advocate (October 2016) 92 Points: – “The 1995 Geyserville is made from 62% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 15% Carignan and 5% Mourvèdre. This was winemaker Eric Baugher’s second vintage, and he certainly did a fine job here. From a dry, cooler year that yielded concentrated wines, this fully mature beauty offers terrific complexity in its spice-box, cigar, dried fruits and potpourri-like aromas and flavors. Drinking beautifully today, it continued to sweeten up with time in the glass, has medium-bodied richness and depth, and should hold for another couple of years, then have a gradual decline.” -Jeb Dunnuck
Average Rating: 90.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 61
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