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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Ottimino and Ridge ATP Zins - January 21, 2009


We tasted last night (1/21/09) Some Ottimino and Ridge ATP Zins:

  1. Ridge Calif BuchignaniRanch Zin (5% PS; 14.4%; 39 brls; Drk: 12/03-12/08-12/10: PD) 2002: Med.color; very attractive raspberry/Zin light pungent/oak light dusty/old vines some complex nose; tart slight metallic/lean some tobaccoy/pungent pleasant spicy/Zinberry flavor; med.long slight metallic/lean
    some tannic/astringent/dried out light raspberry/Zinberry finish; pleasant mature Zin but starting to dry out a bit; drink up. $24.00
  2. Ridge Calif Zin PonzoVnyds/RRV (2% Carignane, 2% PS; 14.4%; Drk: 6/03-6/08-6/10; PD) 2002: Med.color; very attractive bright/spicy/raspberry/Zinberry slight milky/Am.oak/pencilly some pungent/ DraperPerfume complex nose; smooth/elegant very spicy/raspberry/Zinberry slight malted milk/Am.oak/ pungent/DP flavor; long very spicy/Zinberry some pungent/Am.oak finish w/ light tannins; a lovely/ smooth/mature Zin w/ lots of Zinberry spice. $24.00
  3. Ridge Calif Zin Alegria LatePicked (77% Zin, 12% PS, 11% Alicante; 15.7%; 35 brls; SaH: 27.2%; RS: 0.16%; Drk: Early yrs: PD) 1995: Med.color w/ slight bricking; some pungent/burnt bit earthy/ dusty/dried rose petal slight jammy/blackberry some complex nose; soft bit thin/lean slight alcoholic some raisened/jammy/ripe/blackberry flavor; med. overripe/raspberry/jammy bit dried out/tired bit alcoholic finish; a bit too far gone to enjoy. $20.00
  4. Ridge Calif Zin Alegria LatePicked (75% Zin, 22% PS, 3% AlicanteBouschet; 15.6%; 42 brls; SaH: 27.1%; RS: 0.1%; Drk: 12/97-12/01-12/02: PD) 1996: Med.color w/some bricking; unusual herbal rather dusty/earthy/old vine slight overripe/boysenberry/jammy bit alcoholic nose; rather herbal/dusty/old vine somewhat hoy/alcoholic/fumey slight jammy/raspberry/overripe flavor; med.long herbal/dusty rather hot/alcoholic finish w/ little tannins; not dried out/tired but has developed very strangely. $20.00
  5. DryCreekVnyd OldVine Zin SonomaCnty (80+ yr old vines; 14.5%; 4729 cs; 16% PS; 18 mo. in Fr & Am oak; 46% new oak; TA: 0.56, pH: 3.82) 2006: Dark color; very strong blackberry/Zin/spicy rather dusty/old vines some pencilly/toasty/oak fairly complex lovely nose; tart bit lean/tannic spicy/raspberry/ Zin/blackberry balanced some pencilly/pungent/oak flavor; long bit hard/lean/tannic somewhat tight/wirey strong raspberry/spicy/Zin finish; needs 2-5 yrs; not as plush/polished/smooth as previous DCV OV Zins but structured and needing age. $28.00
  6. Radio-Coteau VonWeidlich/RRV Zin (295 cs; U/U; 15.2%; www.RadioCoteau.com) 2006: Very dark
    color; intense blackberry/boysenberry/peppery/Zin some dusty/old spicy/black cherry complex nose; soft/smooth raspberry/blackberry/black cherry/spicy/Zin light pencilly/oak bit tannic flavor; very long intense blackberry/spicy/Zin rather pencilly/oak some dusty/old vine some tannic finish; big/structured balanced intense Zin that needs 3-6 yrs; seems big for R-C Zin; lovely Zin but not over the top. $42.00
  7. Ottimino Zin VonWeidlichVnyd/RRV (14.8%; 8,004 btls) 2001: Very dark/black color; beautiful
    spicy/peppery/blackberry/Zin light toasty/oak rather dusty/old vine bit pungent/ozone slight
    menthol/licorice/chocolaty rather complex nose; tart rather tannic/hard spicy/blackberry/Zin/licorice light toasty/oak/pungent flavor; very long light/toasty/oak very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/spicy light pencilly/cedary complex finish; still a bit rustic/hard Zin that needs another 2-6 yrs $285.00/6 pack
  8. Ottimino Zin VonWeidlichVnyd/RRV (14.8%; 6,098 btls) 2002: Very dark color; more intense
    blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/spicy huge fruit some dusty/old vine rather complex nose; softer/
    rounder intense blackberry/boysenberry/spicy/Zin rather tannic/hard very/very spicy slight
    toasty/oak complex flavor; very long rather smooth/lush huge fruit/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin
    some peppery/RRV light toasty/oak finish w/ plenty of tannins; more drinkable than the '01
    but probably more tannin just covered up by all the Zin fruit; needs 2-8 yrs.
  9. Ottimino Zin VonWeidlichVnyd/RRV (14.7%; 5,998 btls) 2003: Very dark/black color; beautiful
    complex cracked black pepper/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/spicy very dusty/old vine complex nose; tart/acid intense blackberry/Zin/boysenberry very dusty/old vines cracked black pepper complex flavor; very long/lingering intense/blackberry/Zin/spicy/cracked black pepper lighttoasty/oak/pungent flavor; big/huge fruit in the Carlisle style; my favorite because of the cracked black pepper character; stunning Zin.
  10. Ottimino Zin VonWeidlichVnyd/RRV (14.3%; 98 cs) 2004: Very dark/black color; huge intense
    boysenberry/blackberry/licorice/Zin slight overripe/BarBQue sauce strong/toasty/oak/smokey nose; soft/lush intense boysenberry/blackberry/Zin/chocolaty/licorice slight ground pepper some toasty/oak flavor; very long ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/spicy/licorice some toasty/smokey/oak some tannic flavor; seems quite a bit riper than the other ones.
  11. Ottimino Zin VonWeidlichVnyd/RRV (14.4%; 570 cs) 2005: Very dark color; intense blackberry/
    spicy/peppery/Zin some toasty/pungent/oak fairly complex/roasted/peppery nose; tart intense
    blackberry/boysenberry/peppery/spicy/Zin some toasty/oak rather tannic very structured flavor; very long light toasty/oak strong peppery/blackberry/Zin/spicy some tannic finish; a bit more elegant/balanced than the previous ones; needs 3-8 yrs; stunning Zin.
  12. Ottimino Zin VonWeidlichVnyd/RRV (13.9%; 675 cs) 2006: Very dark color; strong blackberry/
    spicy/licorice/Zin slight menthol/herbal light toasty/oak fairly dusty/old vine nose; tart bit tight/hard strong blackberry/spicy/Zin dusty/old vines light toasty/oak flavor; long strong blackberry/Zin/spicy/licorice light toasty/smokey/oak bit hard/tannic finish; needs more age; seems less extracted than the others and a bit on the tight/closed side.

And the old BloodyPulpit once again:

1. Ridge ATPs: These wines are often rather disappointing and simple upon release, but have this way of really developing into very lovely wines w/ age. The Ponzo has, but the Buchignani has not. The two Alegrias were a bit long of tooth.
2. vonWeidlich: This is a very old vnyd up on MorelliLane owned by Robert vonWeidlich. It's
an interesting property. Looks like a hill-billy homestead up in the Ozarks. Beautiful old vines. This is where the old EricRoss used to make their wines. Ridge made some stunning Zins from these grapes back in the early '70's...Ridge Occidental. Legendary wines. This was also where SeaRidge was once located. Dutton-Goldfield makes their MorelliLane Zin from a newer vnyd just down the block on the old MorelliRanch. It's just to the NE of the town of Occidental. Very cold area and not an obvious place to be growing Zin. But MorelliLane is located up on a ridgetop and just a bit warmer. Still I gather it's a struggle to ripen Zin up there.
3. Ottimino: Grown by BradAlper and winemaking by BillKnuttle. This was one of the finest sets
of Zins I've had since...my last Carlisle tasting I guess. They're rather in MikeOfficer's style, but w/ a slight bit more restraint and less extraction. They are big/intense wines, yet I got no sense that they were over the top. Big Zins, but balanced and the structure to carry them out in time.
Clearly, the vonWeidlich is the flagship of the Ottimino Zins (www.Ottimino.com), but the
OttiminoVnyd and (newer) RanchoBelloVnyd Zins are no slouches in their own right. Some of the
best Zins being made in Calif these days.


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