Ridge 2001 California Sonoma Station Zinfandel ($19.99)
This is a clear, dark-garnet wine, showing glints of bright reddish-purple against the light. Slightly Port-like aromas surround ripe blackberries with warm vinous and alcoholic notes, and the alcohol, although not unusual for a Zin at 14.5 percent, doesn't seem fully integrated with the fruit on the palate. More powerful than jammy, the flavor blends sweetish blackberry fruit with a lemon-squirt of acidity and a wallop of alcoholic warmth. Viewed as a whole, the wine is more amiable than these analytical notes may seem to indicate: It's varietally correct but just a bit awkward, showing more austerity than the typical exuberant Zin. US Importer: (May 6, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: This is a case where a wine really needs a food match with enough muscularity to hold it in balance, and rare charcoal-grilled steaks fill that role nicely. For a meatless match, try an omelet bulked up with roasted red peppers, black olives, onions and sharp Cheddar.

WEB LINK: http://www.ridgewine.com/

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