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Distinctive New Wines

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GREAT NEW WINES – RIDGE & TABLAS CREEK

John Tilson • 10/5/19        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

 

 

 

This fall there are several really delicious new red and white wines that have just been released from Ridge Vineyards and Tablas Creek Vineyard. They are really special. Don’t miss them!

RIDGE VINEYARDS – FALL 2019 RELEASES

New releases from Ridge Vineyards are always a treat. Year after year Ridge Vineyards produces gorgeous, balanced, food-friendly wines that can be consumed young and also can age effortlessly for years. When it comes to Ridge it is easy to get carried away. Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1885 and its modern history dates back to 1960. It was in the late 1960s that I first became acquainted with Ridge wines and recognized that they were very special. For over 50 years I have been buying, drinking, and cellaring them. Ridge Vineyards wines in my cellar today date back into the 1960s. And, I have more Ridge Vineyards wines in my cellar than any other wine. I drink the wines often and can honestly say that I have never had a bad bottle of Ridge.  But I have enjoyed more great bottles than I could ever possibly remember. This is an extraordinary combination.  And, what I do know is that Ridge Vineyards is a unique American winery with a portfolio of world class wines that are consistently great. The wines are made in a traditional way without any manipulation or additives and all the ingredients in the wines are shown on the label. Without question Ridge is the real deal.
That pretty well sums it up. If you don’t know Ridge Vineyards you do not know what you are missing. So, I would advise that it’s better late than never. Now is the time to get started.  And, if you are a Ridge fan, don’t miss these new releases! They include 4 delicious 2017s and the monumental 2016 Monte Bello. All of these wines are great and include some of the best wines ever from these vineyards. (To read an article on the Ridge Spring 2019 releases which also has links to articles with notes on some of the wines released last year as well as information on ingredient labeling and links to all previous Ridge Vineyards articles click here) and to visit the website and get more information on Ridge including their different wine programs that feature many of their wine releases click here).

2016 Ridge Monte Bello
This 2016 Monte Bello is made with 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. The production was 5150 cases. In the outstanding history of Monte Bello dating back to the 1960s, this 2016 looks to be one of the all-time great Monte Bellos. And, saying that is saying a lot. I have tasted every vintage of Monte Bello and have lots of older Monte Bellos dating back to the 1960s in my cellar. I drink the wines often and I can say unequivocally  that there is no California Cabernet Sauvignon producer that can match Monte Bello over this period for consistency and quality (to read articles on old Monte Bellos click here  and click here). Without question, this 2016 Monte Bello is a monumental wine and a legend in the making. The wine is very dark in color and has a stunning perfume of cassis with a faint exotic tinge and underlying hints of cedar and spice. Rich, full, and concentrated the wine also maintains perfect balance and is loaded with cassis tinged fruit. It is also complex and very pure with subtle hints of cedar and spice and great length on the finish. In short, this 2016 Monte Bello is already showing beautifully, but there is a long life ahead. Eric Braugher, says the 2016 is a superb vintage that will age beautifully over the next 30 years. I think this is conservative. For, in fact, many of the Monte Bellos that are already 30 years of age or older (that is 1989 and earlier) are drinking beautifully today. So if you love traditional classic California Cabernet as I do you do not want to miss this wine. It will be a cellar treasure – Extraordinary/Extraordinary Plus.         $225

2017 Ridge Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County
The production of this wine was 9200 cases. It is made with 74% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Syrah, 9% Carignane, and  2% Mataro and is a gorgeous wine. It is dark in color with a deep perfume of blackberry and plum with a floral undertone and a touch of spice. Lush and supple with layers of black fruit flavors this vintage of Lytton Springs is beautifully balanced and has a long finish – Outstanding Plus.       $45    

2017 Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
Pagani Ranch is always one of my favorite Zinfandels. It is always balanced and very flavorful with a faint exotic tinge. And, yes traditionally made Zinfandels like this Pagani Ranch are wonderful wines that are very enjoyable young and can keep for  a long time. The 2017 production was 4000 cases and the wine is comprised of 84% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 7% Alicante Bouchet, and 2% Mataro.
The wine has a dark color and a great blackberry perfume that is faintly briary and exotic. On the palate it has depth and intensity with lots of spice tinged blackberry fruit showing a briary nuance. Balanced and delicious with well integrated tannins this is yet another great Pagani Ranch Zinfandel – Outstanding  Plus.       $40

2017 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County
For me Petite Sirah does not get the credit it deserves. One reason is that if not properly made the tannins can be overwhelming. But, beautifully made Petite Sirahs like this Lytton Estate can age for a very long time. I  have Petite Sirahs  in my cellar that are 30-40 years old that are delicious today.
This 2017 Lytton Estate Petite Sirah is made with  94% Petite Sirah and 6% Zinfandel and 2400 cases were produced. It has a very dark color and a deep berry perfume with a tinge of floral spice and cedar. Rich, full, and flavorful and loaded with berry fruit showing a faint tinge of spice the wine is balanced with will integrated soft tannins and will age beautifully and gain in complexity over many years into the future – Outstanding/Outstanding Plus     $40

2017 Ridge Ponzo Zinfandel  Russian River Valley Sonoma County
Made with 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah the production of this Zinfandel was 1900 cases. It is a delicious fruit driven Zinfandel that is a pleasure to drink now but will also keep well into the future. The wine  is dark in color with a lovely mulberry perfume with a floral tinge. On the palate it has lots of very pure fruit it is supple and rounded with a faint briary nuance and hints of spice – Outstanding Plus.    $35

 

TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD – FALL 2019 RELEASES

For many years now I have been tasting, drinking, buying, and writing about Tablas Creek Vineyard wines.
Their speciality is Rhône varietals and they consistently make some of the best Rhône varietals in California (to read my latest article which also has the background history of  Tablas Creek Vineyard and links to all my Tablas Creek articles click here).

The Fall 2019 releases include 6 stunning wines – four whites and two reds which consist of three 2017s and three 2018s. The 2017 vintage marked the end of the drought with a very large rainfall in January. The summer began relatively cool, but was punctuated by heat spikes in early July and late August that accelerated ripening and produced intense flavors. As a result, the 2017 wines show concentration and freshness with good acidity. The 2018 vintage showed an almost ideal balance of vine health and stress. Rainfall was below normal and cool weather prevailed for most of the year with a six week heat wave in July and August and a moderation in heat just before harvest which proceeded under slightly cooler than normal conditions. The 2018 vintage produced wines with intense fruit and flavors and good balancing aciditiy. This is a very impressive line-up of great wines that you do not want to miss (to visit the Tablas Creek website and join their wine club click here).  My notes follow:

 

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Blanc Paso Robles
This wine is a blend of five white Rhône varietals: Grenache Blanc (48%), Viognier (22%), Roussanne  (13%), Marsanne (12%), and Clairette Blanche (5%). It incorporates fruit from nine top Rhône vineyards in Paso Robles. The production was 2300 cases.
Pale yellow with a faint golden hue this wine has a lovely perfume with floral nuances and hints of green apple, pear, and citrus. Elegant and finesseful with floral undertones accented by green apple and pear nuances it is very harmonious and beautifully balanced with a nice underlying crispness on the finish. With great early appeal this is a delicious wine – Ourstanding Plus.       $25.00                                                 

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles Estate Bottled
This wine is a blend of four estate-grown Rhône varietals: Viognier (40%), Grenache Blanc (35%), Marsanne (20%), and Roussanne (5%). The production was 1800 cases.
Very light yellow in color with a faint golden hue this wine has a deep floral perfume with faint hints of white peach and citrus. On the palate floral flavors are intertwined with faint hints of white peach, apple, and citrus. Elegant and finesseful yet flavorful with a nice crispness on the finish this beautifully balanced wine with early appeal – Outstanding Plus.        $30.00                                  

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard 2018 Grenache Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles Estate Bottled
Grenache Blanc grape is widely planted in the Rhône Valley but not well known. And each year most of Tablas Creek’s Grenache Blanc is used in blending in the Patelin de Tablas Blanc and the Côtes de Tablas Blanc. However, some is often held back for bottling as a single varietal. This 2018 represents the sixteenth bottling of 100% Grenache Blanc. The production was 1470 cases.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a stunning perfume with exotic floral tinges and hints of citrus. With great fruit showing green apple with floral citrus nuances it is impeccably balanced with a nice underlying crispness and is utterly delicious with great early appeal. Without question this is a great “Under The Radar Wine”. Don’t know Grenache Blanc?  What are you waiting for?  This is a great place to start – Extraordinary.          $35.00

 

2017  Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Tablas Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles Estate Bottled
This gorgeous wine is a blend of  five estate grown varietals. Roussanne is the primary component and represents 68% of the blend. Grenache Blanc is next at 17% and is followed by Picpoul Blanc at 7%, Picardan at 4%, and Clairette Blanche also at 4%.  The production was 2250 cases.
Very light yellow gold in color the wine has a deep floral perfume with faint hints of mango, spice, pear, and citrus. Full, rich, and rounded on the palate it exhibits melon, pear, and mango nuances with floral, spice, and citrus undertones. Complex and lingering on the finish this is a unique and stunning wine – Extraordinary.     $45   

2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard Mourvèdre Adelaida District Paso Robles Estate Bottled
Most of Tablas Creek’s Mourvèdre is used in the Espirit de Tablas each year. But often selected lots of particularly characteristic Mourvèdre is set aside for separate bottling. This 2017 is the fourteenth varietal bottling. The production was 950 cases.
|Dark in color with a deep perfume showing blackberry and plum with a faint smoky chocolate nuance this wine has a great intensity of fruit. A myriad of black fruit flavors are encased in mouth filling richness accented by chocolate and spice tinges with a faint smokiness.  Very flavorful with well integrated tannins this wine maintains its balance and  should improve and develop over many years – Outstanding /Outstanding Plus.      $40    

2017  Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Tablas Adelaida District Paso Robles Estate Bottled
This wine is made from four estate grown varietals: Mourvèdre (40%), Grenache (20%), Syrah (35%), and Counoise (5%). The production was 4090 cases.
With a deep color the wine has a gorgeous perfume showing berry and cherry fruit accented by floral spice notes and a faint smoky nuance. Lush and rounded with lots of black fruit flavors accented by faint chocolate and spice nunaces it is beautifully balanced, complex, and very flavorful.  It is a wine that can be enjoyed now, but should evolve and develop over an extended period – Outstanding Plus /Extraordinary).      $60

 

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