2012 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma County Zinfandel
The 2012 Zinfandel Geyserville is quite exuberant in this vintage. Savory herbs, tobacco, smoke, menthol and dark red/blackish-toned fruit burst from the glass in an exotic, juicy Zinfandel-based field blend loaded with personality. The tannins could use another year to soften, but readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off this jewel of a wine. The brisk, energetic finish is incredibly appealing. The blend is 71% Zinfandel, 19% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, 1% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Mataro (Mourvèdre).
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(71% zinfandel, 19% carignane, 7% petite sirah, 2% mataro and 1% alicante bouschet): Inky purple. A heady, exotically perfumed bouquet displays scents of dark berry liqueur, potpourri, smoky oak and Indian spices, with a hint of licorice in the background. Fleshy, palate-staining black raspberry and boysenberry flavors become brighter and spicier with air and pick up a sexy lavender pastille nuance. Supple tannins add support to an extremely long, sweet finish that extends the berry and floral notes. As fine an example of this consistently excellent bottling as I've had in years.
*One Star* Ridge's iconic Geyserville bottlings are typically among the deeper and more distinctive Zinfandel incarnations, and this latest hits both of those marks. It is not, however, an ebulliently fruity wine, and its toughness precludes thoughts about early drinking, but it still fascinates in its own complex and brooding way, and it will take a half-decade or more before its message becomes clear.
A pillar of their lineup, Ridge has bottled Geyserville every year since 1966. Grapes are sourced from three adjoining vineyards on a contiguous strip of gravelly soil on the western edge of Alexander Valley. A traditional field blend, the wine is dominated by Zinfandel but is also marked by the inclusion of Carignane, Petite Sirah, and Mourvedre. The vineyards include vines of over 130 years old... the oldest that Ridge farms. Winemaker Eric Baugher describes the 2012 bottling as such: "Aromas of bramble fruit, wintergreen, licorice, and sweet toasted oak. Rich black cherry fruit on entry with elegant chalky tannins, gravel/rock, and ginger root. A layered, sensuous finish."