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1998 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma County Zinfandel

SKU #330644

91 points Stephen Tanzer: "Bright red-ruby. Roasted aromas of blackberry, bitter chocolate and roast coffee; distinct hints of torrefaction. Dense and sappy in the mouth, with very intense dark berry and pepper flavors. Quite powerfully structured to age, but not overly muscular. Dusty, fine tannins coat the palate. Draper "opened" the vines, dropping crop several times during the season, thereby avoiding rot after the rain in August." (May/June 2000) 90 points The Wine Enthusiast: "This is the 33rd vintage of this landmark Zinfandel, which, since it’s a blend that includes just 74% Zinfandel in it, isn’t technically Zinfandel at all. Whatever. It’s just plain delicious, old-vine, succulent juice. Jammy, juicy, vibrant and tight, it has a long life ahead." (3/2001) 90 points Robert Parker: "A classic effort, the 1998 Geyserville (74% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignan, and 1% Matero) possesses Bordeaux-like complexity and elegance. The alcohol is listed as 14.1%. The wine was reticent on the day I tasted it, but as it sat in the glass, sweet aromas of minerals, smoky wood, red/black currants, and dried herbs emerged. This classy, elegant, restrained, yet authoritatively rich Zinfandel should be consumed over the next 5-6 years." (06/2000) The Wine Spectator: "Simple but pleasant, with cherry, berry and raspberry flavor that keeps its fruity profile." (05/2000)

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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).