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.

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