Wine Review: 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs

24 04 2011

Zinfandel! When made right, still one of my favourite reds.

Happy Easter everybody!!  Special occasions call for special wine, and on this Easter weekend I turned to Ridge, a classic California producer who is giving serious attention to a grape that’s often treated too frivolously:  Zinfandel.  If any of you reading this just said “Hang on, I thought Zinfandel was white?”, banish that thought from your head forever.  While an ocean of blush jug wine has been created bearing the name “White Zinfandel”, Zin is actually a red grape.  What makes White Zinfandel white (or, more accurately, slightly pink) is that when it is made, the fermenting juice is only left in contact with the grapes’ skins for a very short time, after which it is quickly separated so that the skins can’t pass on much of their dark colour to the finished wine (thus preventing it from being red).  White Zinfandel is a cheap, uninteresting, bastardized version of a varietal that, when shown the proper care, can create some of the truest versions of American red wine out there.  The US (especially California) is the predominant producer of Zin in the world; Zinfandel really only shows up elsewhere around the globe in southern Italy, where it is known as Primitivo. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Review: 2004 Leonetti Cellar Merlot

11 03 2011

A Washington Classic

A year ago, I had never tried a wine from Washington State.  Now I actively try to seek them out whenever I can, and with every new bottle I become increasingly impressed with their quality, consistency and complexity.  Washington wines aren’t bombastic or over the top like so many examples from California or Australia, but they aren’t as austere and unyielding as many European wines; they are a perfect middle ground between New and Old World sensibilities, and they deserve more attention than they get.  As a result, I was quite excited to get a chance to try this back vintage wine from one of the pioneers of the Washington wine scene:  Leonetti Cellar. Read the rest of this entry »

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