I’ve been a fan of Ridge Vineyards for a long time now. Surprisingly enough, 2016 was the first time I’ve enjoyed anything besides their Zinfandel. To this day, if I’m drinking Zinfandel, Ridge is my go-to producer. They make really beautiful, complex and well-made Zin, not the overblown, jammy, and cooked styles you can easily find.
Anyway, back to tonight’s Cabernet Sauvignon. I must admit, when I first opened this bottle, I was a little bit worried. 2011 wasn’t a great vintage in California, so I knew this wasn’t a bottle to hold on to forever. At five years old, I thought it was time to pop the cork and when I did, I was pleased with the nose, if a little underwhelmed. It started tight and green. Some fruit, but pretty unripe in cherry and plum aromas, and there was a zippy tang and acidity. I didn’t want to give up too soon though, I knew this wasn’t going to be a powerhouse like the Monte Bellos I’d been drinking earlier in the year, but I knew this wine had more to give if I just gave it some time.
About an hour later when I cam back to it, what a lovely surprise! The wine had fully opened up and fleshed out. There were now prominent dark berries, blackberries, plums and currants on the nose and on the palate. The green I had initially detected on the nose had melded into a savor herbal component, sweet tobacco was coming through. The acidity that was prominent an hour early, gave the rich wine lift, and the finish was long and supple. Despite its vintage, I think I may have opened this a little too soon. If you are opening a bottle in the near future, this is a lush wine needs some air and some time to reveal its structure, but it’s definitely worth the wait. And if you have the patience, another 3 to 5 years might be where it finds it peak. I’ll be looking forward to trying it again in the future!