Sunday, September 25, 2011

Intimate Zinfandel Blind Tasting

After reading Robert Parker's ratings for the 2009 Ridge wines, I had a hankering to put this to the test.

Our house was a mess due to our refrigerator breaking down, coolers of food were strewn accross the family room, and everything usually found atop the frig, was now on the dining room table; what better time to have a blind tasting. That I would even consider a blind tasting in this situation attests to my fanaticism and my wife's ability to entertain on a moments notice and her likeness to an angel. I sent a text to Jose, good friend and known Zinfindel lover, about my crazy idea. He quickly responded; he and Lili were in.

I headed to K&L and Sue went to work on the house. Arriving, I found the shelves empty of the Ridge wines I was looking for. At this point it occurred to me that I should have checked their availability via the web site before I drove the 25 minutes to the store. Thankfully, after some searching and help from the staff, I found what I was looking for: 2009 "Lytton Springs", 2009 "Geyserville", and even the 2009 "East Bench", which the web site said they were out of.

I didn't want to just taste Ridge wines, and Sue thought 5 was too much, so I decided to only taste the top two. Additionally, I threw in a Zin from Storrs I had lying around and a 2006 Picchetti Bellicitti, a group favorite and a wine I know Lili loves.

Jose brought a bottle, even though I told him not to. Instead of putting it into the mix, we decided to try it afterwards.

Ready to Taste Some Zins

We all dug in, trying the wines and comparing notes. It was a tad cool and a little breezy, which may have influenced the wine tastes and smells. Everyone had a hard time getting a good nose off the wines.

The Four Wines

Almost everyone but Lili was convinced the first wine was actually a Pinot, which drove me nuts wondering how I had messed up the bottles. It was a lot lighter than the other Zins, and had a vegital Pinot smell. At one point Jose was willing to bet $100 on it, but I couldn't take the bet for two reasons. First, I never like to bet such huge amounts. Second, I thought I knew more than he did, since I thought the wine was a Ridge from the silver neck I had noticed when I poured it. As it turns out, it was the Storr's Zin, or so the bottle said. Jose was still convinced it was a mislabeled bottle.

After we were finished rating the 4 planned wines, we poured a glass of what Jose brought and rated it.

The Aftermath


Top to Bottom from Left to Right

D - 2006 Picchetti, Bellicitti came in first with an average rating of 4.0625. Purchased at club case discount price at the winery for $25; retails for approximately $37, though I've never paid this. I originally purchased 3 cases when I found out it was in short supply. After this one, I'm down to 3 left.

C - Ridge 2009 Geyserville came in second with an average rating of 3.5. Purchased from K&L for $29.99. It was given 94 points from Robert Parker. Parker said it's anticipated maturity is 2012-2029, so it'll probably get even better.

A - Storrs 2006 Rusty Ridge came in third with an average rating of 3. Purchased from the winery for $30; I believe we got 10% to 15% off this price, but I can't remember. This was the wine all of us, but Lili, thought was a Pinot.

E - 2007 Martin Ranch, Therese Vineyards came in fourth with an average rating of 2.875. Jose brought this because it was from Amador county, and he was sure I wouldn't have any from that region. He likes wine from this region. He paid $25.99 at Whole Foods. It was too jammy and sweet for my taste.

B - Ridge 2009 Lytton Springs came in dead last with an average rating of 2. Purchased from K&L for $31.99. It was given 95 points from Robert Parker. In fairness, Parker said it's anticipated maturity is 2013-2029, so it'll hopefully get better.

The Results in Ted's Trademarked Format

It's pretty shocking that Lytton Springs came in last. I was glad to see the Picchetti held up.

We headed inside with our favorite glass to enjoy what Sue had whipped up for us.