1999 Ridge Vineyards "Nervo" Sonoma County Late-Picked Zinfandel

SKU #1010072 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Readers looking for a Zinfandel made in the style of Henri Bonneau's famed Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins should check out Ridge's 1999 Zinfandel Nervo Late Picked (ATP). A blend of 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah, with only .2% residual sugar, this dry wine is made in an enormously concentrated, full-bodied style. It offers huge layers of blackberry and black cherry fruit intertwined with meat, earth, smoke, and underbrush. Formidably endowed, with enormous amounts of glycerin, this powerful yet supple, accessible 1999 is a tour de force in winemaking. Readers on Ridge's mailing list who enjoy large-scaled wines should be sure to latch onto a few bottles of this gem. (RP)  (10/2001)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Pushing ripeness to the limit without exceeding the speed limit, this is one ripe, tight, rich wine, with scents of chocolate and blackberry. Shows some heat on the finish. The label makes it clear it's late-picked, making it shy of late-harvest.  (12/2001)

K&L Notes

Frank and Marie Nervo left Italy's Veneto for the United States in the early 1890s. Like many such Italian pioneers to northern California, they settled at the Italian Swiss Colony in Asti. In 1896, they were able to purchase two hundred and fifty acres south of Geyserville; it included ten acres of hillside vineyard. They planted more vines and, in 1908, built a square, two-story stone winery, which they named Venezia, after their home region. This wine comes from the younger vines, as well as the hillside of old mixed zinfandel the family still owns - over one hundred years after their original purchase. This fine, well-structured zinfandel is rich in briary fruit and exotic old-vine spice.

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Price: $49.99
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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).