Friday, December 21, 2012

Bogle "Phantom" '09 $18

California (Clarksburg, Lodi & Amador)

With a perfect balanced blend of 52% Zinfandel, 46% Petite Sirah and 2% Mourvedre, I think I've found a new favorite, easy drinking red blend.

Dark red berry fruits with woody spice and hints of mocha deliver an aroma that's a pleasant start to the flavors ahead. Dark ripe raspberries bring out a full-bodied fruit intensity with hints of cocoa and black pepper spice.

With over 2 years in American oak it's no wonder the concentrated Zinfandel shows its best characteristics.  A firm finish with subtle tannins paired this wine well with a grilled ribeye steak. It even complimented the warm baked brownies for desert.

As Bogle suggests, "Welcome the winery ghost into your home again with this latest vintage...before it vanishes."  This is a great wine for the price point.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ridge Vineyards, Lytton Springs

Healdsburg, CA  (Sonoma, CA area)

I had the pleasure of being introduced to Lytton Springs Zinfandel almost 5 years ago and Ive always wanted to try their other wines.  I happened to have that chance a few weeks ago while visiting the Sonoma valley.  

One interesting thing I learned during my visit was some of the vineyard plantings have remained for over a hundred years, hence the term "ancient vines."  Some vines have roots over 20 feet down stretching into the water table.  Italians planted some of these plots in the early 1900s and back then it wasn't confirmed what some of the varietal plants were.  The majority is Zinfandel however a subtle mix of Carignane, Pettie Sirah and others are spread throughout.  Not all of the lots (fields) are grown this way however for those that are, all those grapes go into that particular wine. For example; the Lytton Springs Zinfandel has 67% Zin, 23% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane and 3% Mataro.  So technically it's a Zinfandel but the blending of other varietals makes it quite nice.

Some of the other wines I particularly liked were;

'10 Geyserville Zinfandel - A nice subtle balance on the oak due to older barrels.  Subtle berry fruit flavors, well structured with silky finish.

'09 Carmichael Ranch Zinfandel - One of my favorites in the group! Soft tannins, subtle mocha flavors, aged on American oak. 96% Zin, 4% Petite Sirah

Lastly for those of you wanting that "special" occasion wine, the '09 Monte Bello was amazing!  It's 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 6% Petite Verdot.  This is in their Collector series and rightfully so at $150/bottle.  Aromatics full of blackberry, soft licorice and warm toast.  Definitely one of the smoothest red wines I've had.  It's no doubt this will age for years to come and match up to any fine wine from around the world.  Robert Parker gives it a 98!

In the end, a big thank you to our hosts in the tasting room and I look forward to drinking more of what I bought to bring home.

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