Tasting Note                         

92   2003  Ridge  Santa Cruz Mtns Cabernet/Merlot   4/1/17  ($32)

68% Cabernet, 23% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc   13% alc
Color: Deep garnet, no browning to speak of. (3.0) Bouquet: Sweet blackberry and cassis fruit with cocoa, pen ink and subtle cooking herbs. (3.0) Body: Solid middleweight with excellent fruit, acidity and smooth tannins. (3.5) Flavor: Parallels bouquet with lots of cocoa infused fruit. (3.0) Finish: Pretty, long and expressing. (3.5)
Overall: A mature claret that is drinking very well. Very smooth with pretty cocoa-infused, blackberry/cassis fruit. It's smooth prettiness probably due in part to the high percentage of Merlot. I'm pleasantly surprised with how well this wine has aged and improved. I thought it really lacked luster as a young wine and didn't expect it to go anywhere, let alone improve up to its 14th birthday. Then again, who am I to doubt the wines of Paul Draper. I still prefer the more Cabernet-driven style of their SCM Cabernets from the 90's and their present estate Cabernets, but this venture into more Merlot in the blend from about 2001-2006 turned out better than I thought when first released. Drink now and in the next couple of years. (16)

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