1990 Ridge York Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, $15, 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 13.6% alc.: This one was enjoyed courtesy of Mr. TNT himself, Tim Thomas, and it has come along nicely since the last time we tried it . There’s still only a slight tinge of rust to the dark garnet hue here, and while Kim immediately commented on a “minty” quality and “a little bit of dill,” I found some initial musty funk on the nose that blows off to reveal a classic, mature Draper perfume, and perfume is the operative term here. It offers up cassis, black currant, blueberry and lavender, all in perfect proportion to the sweet oak that complements, but never overpowers the lovely fruit. These impressions follow through on the palate with a certain dustiness that adds to the appeal; full bodied, with good length and fairly low acids, it still has some unobtrusive tannins to resolve, but by no means does this NEED to sit any longer. A classic Mr. Ridge, with pure Cabernet character that shows a certain “sense of place,” this makes a great match for a grilled tri-tip steak.
1990 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel, 80 % Zinfandel, 10 % Petite Sirah, 6 % Carignane, 4 % Grenache, 13.8 % alc.: Back when this was a current release, and for some time thereafter, it was THE favorite wine of Kim and this taster, period, so it’s always nice to see how it’s coming along, and I’m happy to say that we weren’t disappointed when Bennett Traub brought it and the following selection over to share with us and our daughter Jessica Rose aka Dolphin Girl. Showing a good deal of rust to the ruby garnet color, it gives a big hit of mustiness that quickly evaporates, leaving a lovely, mature Draper perfume over black raspberry, blackberry, a little prune, a hint of old wood, some moderate earthiness underneath it all, a little aquarium with air that Bennett describes as “saline” and a funky little undertone that just adds another nuance to the complexity. Mr. Traub adds that “the plumminess is still there, with a little mint on the back end,” and I wouldn’t disagree. Indeed, there’s still a nice core of fruit here (Kim gets a lot of jam), with a smooth texture, moderate tannins, good density, more than enough acidity and a nice finish. What a treat to renew acquaintances with this sublime, mature, claret-like Zin blend, a true testament to just how well these can age, but then, we already knew that, didn’t we?
1990 Ridge Geyserville, 64 % Zinfandel, 18 % Petite Sirah, 18 % Carignan, 13.9% alc: While I usually prefer Geyserville to Lytton Springs, such was never the case with the 1990 vintage, and this rusty garnet reminds me once again why that is . It gives that “Geyserville kind of funk” upfront, described variously as “almost a little brett-y” (Kim), “almost mentholatum camphor” (Bennett) and “funky, earthy plum and prune” (this taster). Somewhat Rhône-ish in personality, it shows a lot of leather, some Draper perfume in the background and what Bennett describes as some “strange medicinal qualities” that I failed to detect. Smooth, mellow and somewhat claret-like, it may or may not be a little past its peak, but it’s still enjoyable and interesting as heck.
- From More Wines with Friends
Reporting from Day-twah,