Monday, March 27, 2006

Pine Ridge Winery: Napa Elite

Pine Ridge Winery has been a mainstay in the Napa elite for many years, and it sometime take a review of the wines to remind you that these are simply some of the finest examples produced of true-Napa-style wines.

On Friday March 3rd, Hunt Patterson, longtime representative of the Pine Ridge Winery, was in the office for just such a review. Hunt had been out in the market the past week working with a number of representatives and seeing a lot of success with the wines. After tasting through the wines, I can see why success is so easy. In a nutshell: these wines are as good as they have ever been.
We tasted through the 2004, Chardonnay Dijon Clones – my notes say rich and smoky, a purity of fruit with great balance and a long finish – really an impressive Chardonnay, very much for the California Chard drinker. We then moved on to the always interesting 2004, Chenin / Viognier – this wines now has more Viognier (from Pine Ridge’s estate) than it has had in the past. In fact, the 20% Viognier really lifts the wine and gives it a clean, fruity taste that carries all the way through the finish – not sweet, but deliciously fruity.
We then moved to the reds. First up was a wine that I have had a lot of experience with: the 2002, Merlot Crimson Creek. I used to use this wine by-the-glass many years ago, but I do not recall it being as impressive as it is now. This was really my favorite out of the group. This Merlot has such depth that it brings forth the clich̩ of being a merlot for the Cab drinker. I disagree. This is a Merlot drinkers Merlot (they do exist!), and I see this as a fine example for those who truly like drinking exceptional Merlot. Yes, it is big and rich and will probably satisfy a Cabernet drinker Рbut they can always enjoy the exceptional Cabernets from Pine Ridge. I find the Crimson Creek Merlot to be so dark and rich with black cherry and chocolate notes that it cannot be mistaken for Cab. Whatever the case Рit was really good.
Then the Cabs: 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford and 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District. Each of these wines is dark in color with deep fruit notes, but they are very different on the palate. The Rutherford was so smooth and smoky with wonderful cedar and cassis notes, and an almost sweet core of fruit. Tannins are very ripe and well integrated – very satisfying. The SLD Cab was much bigger and did not have a sweet core like the Rutherford, but instead had this depth and fullness that will allow a fair amount of aging – if you can wait. I had this wine at a tasting event earlier in the week and it really showed well – big and powerful with great tannin structure. Fruit as dark as can be. Not a problem holding this wine for the near future.
All in all the wines from Pine Ridge winery always show well, but with the 2004 whites and 2002 reds – there really is something very special. All of the fruit is from Pine Ridge’s estate (except the Chenin), and this contributes to higher quality and less variance from vintage to vintage. If you are not familiar with Pine Ridge – you should get to know them.

06 march, 2006

B.C. Mitchell

No comments:

Post a Comment