78% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah, 1% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Mataró (Mourvèdre)
Ruby color; scented bramble fruit, mint, gravelly earth, sweet oak; black tea, sweet cherry fruit, medium chalky tannins, sensuous, layered, complex minerals, old vine/field-blend fruits and lively acidity. Long savory finish. EB (12/12)
A long winter delayed the start of the growing season. Having escaped late spring rains, the vines set a large crop — more than an unusually cold summer could ripen. Severe thinning became essential. Harvest began September 21, and ended October 3 — a day before the first rain. Twenty-four parcels were fermented, and kept separate. In late spring, during rigorous blind tastings, we chose twelve parcels to make up the 2011. Quantities are limited, but this is a superb Geyserville, showing intense fruit, and strong vineyard character. Enjoyable now, it will continue to develop over the next ten or twelve years.
Ridge has made the Geyserville as a single-site zinfandel in every year since 1966. The grapes are grown in three adjoining vineyards on a defined stretch of gravelly soil approximately one-and-a-quarter miles long and a half-mile wide.
Rainfall: 40 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Wet spring and typical cool summer, with no sustained heat spells.
Harvest Dates: 21 September – 2 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary; 100% floating cap, full pump-overs; pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (24% new, 50% one and two years old, 26% three and four years old.)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; calcium carbonate; minimum effective SO2.
All estate-grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria. 16.9mg/liter calcium carbonate added to ten small fermentors to moderate acidity; minimum effective sulfur (30 ppm at crush; 92 ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Connoisseurs’ Guide (May 2013): “Another stunner under the Geyserville moniker, this rich, nicely layered offering combines red and black berries with touches of dried leaves and black pepper in its mid-volume aromas. And, as promising as the nose seems to be, the wine is even more deeply packed on the palate where its blackberry, raspberry, darkly spiced fruit is joined by background notes of creamy oak. Latter palate tannin assures that this version of Geyserville will enjoy the long-aging abilities of its predecessors.” Rated: 95 (***)
Vinous Media (July 2013): “Dark red/black cherries, menthol, tar, licorice, smoke and tobacco emerge from the 2011 Zinfandel Geyserville. Deep, muscular and imposing, the 2011 boasts impeccable class, pedigree and balance. This is another drop-dead gorgeous wine from Ridge. The blend is 78% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah, 1% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Mataro (Mourvedre).” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 94)
Wine Advocate (Issue 202, August 2012): “The 2011 Geyserville impresses for its silkiness and texture. Sweet dark berries, flowers and mint are some of the notes that take shape in the glass. The 2011 is a decidedly mid-weight, feminine style of Geyserville. Floral notes reappear on the finish, adding lift and vibrancy. The 2011 should drink well upon release and also age. To make the 2011, Ridge was especially selective and fewer parcels made it into the blend than normal, especially with the Petite Sirah. The blend is 80% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane, 3% Petite Sirah and 1% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2031.
Indiana Jones and I have one thing in common — a fear of snakes. That is why every time I see the sign in the Ridge parking lot that reads ‘Beware of rattlesnakes,’ I get a little uneasy. So it’s quickly into the tasting room for me. Winemaker Eric Baugher and his team have prepared a great tasting covering all of the Ridge classics, plus a few smaller-production bottlings I am tasting for the first time. This is a sublime set of new releases from one of this country’s greatest heritage wineries. It’s hard to know where to start, but the highlights are the 2009 Monte Bello, followed by the 2010, which will be released this year, plus some of the Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based wines. The 2010 harvest was not an easy one. The summer was very cold, as it was throughout California. Ridge was severely affected by August heat spikes that were crippling for Zinfandel. The wines that were bottled are the result of a severe selection of the best fruit that survived the heat.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 91-93)
Quarterly Review of Wines (May 2013) – 29th Best of The Best California Zinfandel – “Soft, spicy, textured, concentrated, with strawberry-cherry flavors and elegant finish. Delicious!” (Rated: Co-Best of Show)
California Grapevine (Vol. 39, June 2013): “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, earthy, briary, cherry and raspberry fruit aroma with notes of dill and black pepper; full body; rich, briary, peppery, red and black fruit flavors with bright acidity; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 16.3 of 20 points, 0/2/3; My Score: 17 (91/100), fifth place)
The Tasting Panel (July 2013 Extra): “Bright, juicy and generous with racy blueberry and plum fruit; spicy, lush and briary with ripe, lush style; long, balanced and lively.” -Anthony Dias Blue (Rated: 90)
Average Rating: 91.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 308
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