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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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Entries in Zinfandel (12)

Wednesday
Sep142011

Tasting "Legendary" New Releases from Ridge Vineyards

 

In stock and available now on KLWines.com!

Sure, nobody does it like Ridge Vineyards. Their wines have been a cornerstone of our selection (when we can get them) over the years.

Perhaps the most universally well-liked CA winery amongst our staff, Ridge just received a heaping dose of love from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.

"I tasted a breathtaking array of wines during my recent visit with Paul Draper at Ridge," writes Antonio Galloni in the September 2011 issue,"...Heretical as it may sound, I think the wines Draper is making today will prove to be far superior to the wines of decades past, many of which are rightly considered legendary." 

Well, we popped open the wines at K&L Redwood City to taste for ourselves.

The verdict?

 

2009 Ridge Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($34.99)

"The 09 Ridge Estate Chardonnay is rich, mouthfilling, gorgeous Chardonnay with great length. Leesey complexity and a profound mineral component balance the deep and concentrated fruit. The oak is present but not overpowering, given the richness and purity of the fruit, which is 100% estate, from vines planted in the 40's on the Monte Bello Vineyard. This production spent fifteen months in predominantly air-dried American aak barrels, only 10% of which were new (with the rest 1-4 years old). It registers as Meursault-like to me at this time. Though drinkable now, it has the stuffing to age, and these wines from Ridge do age beautifully. This bottle merits inclusion in any serious Chardonnay collection." -By: Chiara Shannon | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2011

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Chardonnay Estate is an impeccable, classy wine layered with bright citrus, flowers and just a touch of sweetness from the oak. Crushed rocks and lime peel add complexity on the textured, long finish. In 2009 none of the blocks were designated for the Monte Bello bottling, all of the fruit went into the Estate. This is a stunningly pure wine from Ridge. I came back to the 2009 Estate after having tasted all of the reds and the wine showed beautifully. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019." (08/11) 


09 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Zinfandel ($31.99)

At the annual Zinfandel Advocates and Producers Tasting (ZAP) back in January there was really one Zinfandel that stood out from all the rest and that was the 2009 Lytton Springs. There was so much wine in the bottle there that so many else at the same even couldn’t even hope to have. Fast forward nine months later and the wine has grown even more into itself with wonderful aromatics of gingerbread, spice cake, muddle blackberries and a waft of cigar smoke. This hits the mouth brimming with size, generous with its ample fruit and spice, but yet never feels excessive. It is sort of like a perfect steak, marbled and rich, needing almost nothing but a pinch of salt and pepper to make it sing. Long, dry and spicy with great balance, add a pinch of braised meat and this will do you well for decades to come. - Review By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2011

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Lytton Springs is the biggest and most structured of these 2009 Zinfandel-based reds, largely owing to the earthier soils and the presence 23% Petite Sirah. Black fruit, plums, tar, licorice and smoke are some of the notes that flow from this generous, inviting red. The Lytton Springs is fairly structured, and can definitely benefit from another year or two (perhaps more) in bottle. The blend is 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2029." (08/11)


2009 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma Zinfandel ($29.99)

Geyserville has consistently been my favorite bottling from Ridge over time. There is something that just hits my palate right about this wine; I think it is the perfect combination of fruit, spice, oak and texture for a Zinfandel based wine. A touch brighter and higher toned than the Lytton Springs bottling this has powerful aromas of black raspberry, nutmeg, cedar and toasted marshmallow. More purely fruited this year than in the recent past this has bursting flavors of blueberry, ash, black tea and a touch of dill from the American Oak used in the aging of the wine. Clean, ripe, focused and complete with a wonderful sappiness this is delicious now and will only get better over the next decade. - Review By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2011

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Geyserville is a gorgeous wine. It shows expressive inner perfume, sweet black cherries, menthol and minerals. This is an understated, exceptionally elegant red endowed with considerable finesse and fabulous overall balance. A round, sensual finish makes it impossible to resist a second taste. In 2009 the blend is 74% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Mourvedre. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2029." (08/11) 

 

2008 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.99)

Sourced from the same vineyard that its big brother Monte Bello comes from, the Estate Cab from Ridge is one of best values in California Cabernet. The 2008 does not disappoint in the least, dark and brooding fruit is balanced against beautiful minerality and savory notes of leather and spice. A pleasure to drink now and will continue to be stunning for the next 10 years. - Review By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member (& Ridge Alum!) | Review Date: September 14, 2011

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is compelling. Where to start? An expressive bouquet redolent of sweet herbs, tobacco and incense leads to a gorgeous tapestry of dark red fruit. The Estate is drop-dead gorgeous, with the silkiest of tannins that frame an extraordinary finish. This has to be one of the most compelling values in California Cabernet. In 2008 the blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc..." (08/11) 


2008 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon($129.99)

Coming from an extraordinarily small vintage, the concentration and depth of this year's Monte Bello is astonishing. Drinking this over two days revealed layers upon layers of full, dark fruit, laced with sand stone, old leather, and minerality stemming from the limestone in the vineyard. A wine that will surely age with grace and style, something I can't wait to open with good friends and family in the next 10 to 20 years. - Review By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member (& Ridge Alum!) | Review Date: September 14, 2011

97+ points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038." (08/11)


Yes, we concur: "Legendary" sounds about right. 

***

What do you think? Stage your own Ridge tasting at home and share your tasting notes with us on KLWines.com>>My Wine List  

 Of course, you will need to grab these bottles before it's too late: 

2009 Ridge Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($34.99)

09 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Zinfandel ($31.99)

2009 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma Zinfandel ($29.99)

2008 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.99)

2008 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon($129.99)

 

 

Tuesday
Mar082011

Behind the Wine: Mick Unti of Unti Vineyards

Mick Unti at the sorting table during harvest.

George Unti of Unti Vineyards *looks* like a farmer. He's got a purposeful gait, weathered features and the firm handshake of someone who digs in the dirt. In the winery, he comes across quiet, like someone who prefers the silence of the vineyard, at least at first. Once you get him going, you quickly realize that this unassuming man, who spent 39 years managing Safeway supermarkets, is also whip smart and incredibly personable. His son, Mick, who handles all of the marketing and a large chunk of the winemaking (with Sebastien Pochan) will be pouring the winery's lineup, including a tank-sample of the winery's highly-anticipated 2010 rosé, at K&L San Francisco this Thursday night from 5-6:30 p.m. ($5), follows in his father's footsteps: always quick to smile, and wonderfully enthusiastic when he talks about his vines and his wines. 

We recently caught up with Mick to ask him a few questions in anticipation for this week's tasting. This is what he had to say:

K&L: How did you get into the wine business?

Mick Unti: Went wine tasting in Hecker Pass region, near Gilroy, one day when it was too cloudy to go to Santa Cruz. Watched Thomas Kruse get off his tractor to pour us some wines and was infatuated with small wineries. Then worked in wine departments in Safeway while I was attending University of Washington. I last worked for Jess Jackson doing National Sales for Artisan and Estates in 1996 before starting Unti Vineyards with my dad, George.

K&L: What’s your winemaking philosophy?

MU: Grow varietals that are well-suited to your climate. Use farming methods that encourage healthy vines naturally (organic, biodynamic, etc.). Maintain moderate to low-yields. Have a very good understanding of the world’s best versions of these wines (that means blowing a bunch of money at K & L on European wines). Study the various methods used by artisan wineries, and if financially possible, apply some of those methods when making your wine. Learn from your own experience to make the wines that are true to your sites. Stay true to your own ideals regarding wine.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?

Delfina in SF, Farmhouse in Forestville, Boulevard in SF

What did you drink last night? (Or the last time you had a glass of wine that wasn’t your own?)

Cascina Ca Rossa 2007 Barbera d’Alba Mulassa, Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg 2009 Kabinett.

What’s your position on wine-pairing and what do you like to pair your wines with?

I’m not that formal. Our wines are made from grapes that are native to the Mediterranean. As such they are moderate-to-low in tannin, fruity and have nice acidity. As such, they are versatile. You can serve our wine with simply seasoned grilled meats or spicy ethnic dishes. Amazing how easy this process is when you drink balanced wines.

What advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

As Al Davis might say, “Just drink a wide variety, baby.”

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

Do they have to be dead? If so, John Lennon, Bill King (sportscaster) and Esther Peaker (my grandmother) or Dick Unti (my uncle).  Awesome micro-brew Champagne (Pierre Gimonnet) with oysters, Comte de Vogue Musigny with grilled Hawaiian fish. I’m sure we’d break out a few other great wines. Siro Pacenti Brunello, JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenurhr, you get the idea.

***

Don't live in San Francisco? Can't make the tasting? Set up your own Unti tasting at home with these three in-stock beauties:

2007 Unti Vineyards Dry Creek Grenache ($26.99) This has intense raspberry, blackberry, tar, pepper, licorice, and dried herbs aromas that are evocative of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Full of fruit on the palate, with an earthy, licorice-tinged undercurrent, this captures the Dry Creek landscape and still maintains the balance we've grown to expect from Unti. An ager.

2007 Unti Vineyards Dry Creek Zinfandel ($24.99) It's no coincidence that the Dry Creek Valley has become synonymous with Zinfandel, and of the region's and varietal's best characteristics are packed into this bottle. Briar fruit and black pepper aromas and flavors are accented by subtle floral tones. There's plenty of structure, and the wine is completely dry, with the signature ripeness of the vintage and the balancing acidity that marks all of Unti's wines.

2008 Unti Vineyards "Petite Frere" Dry Creek Rhône Blend ($16.99) Unti's version of a Côte du Rhône, this is Grenache-dominated blend with small amounts of Syrah and Mourvedre. Full of ripe Dry Creek fruit with firmer tannins than previous vintages, this is like some of the CdR's from France in 2007, blessed with juicy red fruit, but needing a little time to integrate.

Tuesday
Nov162010

Global Zinfandel Day

Sure Schwarzenegger's attempt to make Zinfandel California's official wine grape fell flat a few months back, but we never stopped being its champion. That's why we were excited to learn that ZAP, the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, had declared November 19th "Global Zinfandel Day."

Click to read more ...