Tasting Note                         

96    1997 Ridge Paso Robles Zin Late Picked    1/31/04($20)

Color: Red and black raspberry, very deep for its age and appellation.(3.5) Bouquet: Gamy, briary, multilayered Zinberry, very aromatic. Too complex to describe accurately, but has impressive acidity propelling intense fruit.(4.0) Body: A lot of fruit and a lot of acidity. The latter giving it an edge that brings it down a notch in this category. Nonetheless, very intense, but ironically elegant.(3.0) Flavor: Beautifully ripe Zinberry in its purest form with just enough sweetness to counter the high acidity/alcohol. Not at all hot, surprisingly.(3.0) Finish: The complex fruit and spice divide and expand, divide and expand here. Totally peak, drink now and in the next 6-12 months. Acidity may overtake the fruit beyond that. Hedonistic Zin, but in a very classy package. Wow!(4.0)
Overall: Great, great, great! Sorry to get so excited, but Paso Robles Zin isn’t supposed to be this good!! Correction, many people feel that Zin can’t achieve this, period. Well, they’re wrong. It’s too bad that French varietals have top reign in the wine-growing world. Zin is the grape of California, not because it is a native and not because it consistently produces the best California wines (neither of which is true), but because it has the ability to take on a wonderfully unique and great character here.(17.5)