Ridge Wine Tasting with dinner - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 02-21-2008 08:59 PM

This tasting at Enoteca Vin in Raleigh on Feb. 19 included 3-oz. pours of eight Ridge wines (I didn't finish all of the wines but did drain a couple.) You could reserve your own dinner time and choose from the regular menu. I went with the suggested course for the Monte Bello Chardonnay and made my own selections from the menu for the red wine pairings.

John Olney, vice president of Ridge and manager of the Lytton Springs facility, was on hand to answer questions.

2004 Monte Bello Chardonnay
paired with lobster bisque with Sherry and chervil (pieces of lobster in the bisque)
Scent of lightly charred oak. Pleasant, somewhat Burgundian flavor although perhaps more "drawn butter" than a typical French Burgundy. Viscous. Oak adds depth to the overall impression. Very nice pairing with the lobster bisque. Mr. Olney says they used to use French oak but now use American oak with the Chardonnay--30% new and about 20% one-year old barrels. I liked this Chard and so did the table next to me. I saved some thinking I might come back to it later, but with all those reds to try it became impractical to finish it.

Four primarily Zinfandel reds followed in flights of two at a time.

I ordered a serving of the Montgomery Cheddar cheese to accompany the Zins. It came with bread and dried cherries and I ordered addtional cheese and bread without additional fruit. For more information on the cheesemaking in Somerset, England see:

2005 Geyserville, Sonoma County
2005 Lytton Springs, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley

2005 Geyserville and the Lytton Springs (hereafter L.S.) both leggy. The L.S. was more fragrant as I would expect. The Geyserville was mild enough to mesh nicely with the slightly nutty cheddar cheese--better cheese match than the L.S. which tasted rather primary and undeveloped at present. It needs more maturity. Mr. Olney acknowledged that the Geyserville is drinking beautifully right now and it seemed a particularly fortunate match with the Montgomery Cheddar. I normally love L.S. but couldn't judge it at this stage. On the palate it was more austere than the nose. It mellowed slightly after 25-30 minutes in the glass but is still very young.

2005 Paso Robles (Benito Dusi Ranch)
2005 York Creek, Mayacamas Range, Napa Valley

I have enjoyed Ridge Paso Robles Zinfandel in other vintages. To my taste the 2005 was too ripe and jammy. Dark berries. Not one of my favorites of the evening.

The York Creek was a better match to the cheddar cheese (although not up to the Geyserville.) A bit tannic on the finish but not as lean as some of the background notes might indicate.

I had the waiter bring my entree with the Monte Bello reds--steak frites with maitre d' butter and red wine jus.

2003 Ridge Monte Bello
1992 Ridge Monte Bello
1991 Ridge Monte Bello
A blend of Bordeaux varieties in which Cabernet Sauvignon still predominates.

I found the 2003 worth a second and third lick of the lips. Sweet fruit but not jammy. Attractive.
Of the two older vintages I prefered the '91 which was both mellow and somewhat leathery.
I didn't care for a certain aftertaste with the '92 vintage. The '91 had a strong family resemblance to the '03. These were a good pairing for the medium rare steak.

The wine tasting cost $49 and the dinner items were priced separately. Fun evening.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 02-21-2008).]

- TheEngineer - 02-22-2008 02:48 AM

There seems to be a lot of this type of activity for you in your area...I've not seen as much here in Boston. I would go if there were such dinners.

- wondersofwine - 02-22-2008 12:37 PM

I do feel fortunate but regret that most of the events are on weeknights(restaurants have enough business on the weekends.) I often don't get back from Raleigh until 10:30 or 11:00 PM and then have to get up at 6:00 the next morning for work. At least 3 or 4 Raleigh restaurants have frequent wine dinners.