||And the usual inanities from the bloody pulpit:
The Scherrer Shale Terrace Zinfandel, Fred's first production of this wine
from a special block in his vnyd, is a beautiful complex Zinfandel. More
in the DryCreek style than Alexander Valley; not as big & ripe &
lush as his (spectacular) regular Zinfandel but probably a bit more ageable.
Fred Scherrer is making some of the best Zins made in Calif these days.
The Ravenswood single-vnyd Zins '96: Still haven't tried the Beaterra yet,
but I thought Ravenswood did a very good job w/ their '96's. I liked the
Old Hill and the Cooke quite a bit but found them a bit leaner & harder
than the '95 versions. OTOH, Joel did a really first-rate job w/ both the
Monte Rosso and the Dickerson, thought they were stronger efforts than
the '95 versions.
The Del Dotto Sangiovese: A superb wine very much in a Cabernet style.
Loads of rich ripe fruit, a healthy dose of Fr. oak, but still that underlying
hardness & backbone of Sangiovese. With this DelDotto, the Venge, and
the Luna; it looks like Calif is definitely on the right track to making
world- class Sangiovese.... not Italian but still world-class wine.
The Ridge Alicante: Paul Draper easily does better w/ Alicante than anyone
else in the world. He is probably one of the world's experts in tannin
management in wines and Alicante is one variety that certainly tests his
mettle. Many of the Calif Alicantes are very coarse & crude, very rough
& tannic; sorta mastadon-like wines that clump across the palate in
combat boots. Clearly a variety useful for blending purposes and a variety
that can benifit from creative blending. This '93 is a huge extracted tannic
wine that will probably age into something very interesting. The '96 version
is much more forward & drinkable but still quite an interesting wine.
It's a variety that seems to need a bit more in aromatics; like Zinfandel
or Syrah or Sangiovese. The Ridge's are in a class by themselves. The only
other impressive one is the David Coffaro, & his has a healthy dose
of Zinfandel in it.
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