Saturday, November 14, 2009
What's the HoseMaster Drinking?
Ridge 2004 Grenache Lytton Estate California
I've been a member of Ridge's Advance Tasting Program (ATP) since Harvey Steiman was in diapers. So, like, five years. I am rarely disappointed by the ATP offerings, but I wasn't particularly thrilled with the 2004 Grenache from Lytton Estate. Maybe I just don't get what Ridge is trying to achieve with this wine. Hey, far be it from me to question anything that Paul Draper, Ridge's legendary winemaster, puts into a bottle. For my money, Mr. Draper is one of California's winemaking geniuses, and the rare one that isn't self-proclaimed. I'm not qualified to carry his spit bucket. But the '04 Grenache, just released, struck me as clumsy and awkwardly tannic. I've always found the great Grenaches in the world to be graceful and luscious, but this wine is about as graceful as J. Edgar Hoover in high heels. There's some dark fruit on the nose, heavyhanded American oak as well, with a brief burst of blueberries on the palate, which fade quickly into an overly tannic finish. I'm being a bit hard on this wine (hell, it was a bit hard on me) because I've come to expect much more from Ridge. And, like Lou Dobbs' bad toupee, I don't see it getting any better with time.
The HoseMaster Score 146,333 Points
Disclaimer: No animals were killed or injured in the writing of this review, except for the cow who gave its life so that I could narf a steak with the Grenache. Thanks, Bessie!