Monday, September 14, 2009
2005 Ridge Zinfandel Oltranti
Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards is one of my favorite winemakers and a really nice guy. The Oltranti, like many of Ridge's recent zinfandels, has an intense aroma of fruit and ample alcohol (15.1%). Dark cherry, black raspberry and floral notes fill the nose and, thankfully, help mask the alcohol. In the mouth, there is a lot of fruit which lasts all the way through the long finish, but also an almost burning sensation from the alcohol. There's a nice acid that helps the balance. This is almost all zinfandel with a bit of carignane and petite sirah blended in. I had this with lasagna and a caesar salad and it stood up nicely to those bold flavors, but I could also imagine drinking this in front of a fire on a cold and rainy night with a selection of medium to strong flavored cheeses. I wouldn't give this more than a couple more years of aging time. While the acid and fruit will become more integrated, I believe the alcohol will become too dominant when the fruit begins to fade. Still, it's lovely now; but share it with friends or find a designated driver if you're away from home.