Four old Ridge wines from 1976 – 1982

I may not have met my goal of finishing up posts about several major tastings from last year but I am writing about the very first tasting of this new year which occurred last night at Lou’s house.  Lou bought a series of old Ridge wines last year from which he selected two pairs to be tasted.  All of the wines were double-decanted almost one hour ahead.  We started by tasting a few bubblies of which our contribution was the 2007 Gruet, Grand Rose.  Jenn and I bought this wine on release from Gruet several years ago.  Unfortunately, this well-stored bottle did not offer much in the way of aroma nor flavor.

The first pair of Ridge wines consisted of more traditional Zinfandel from the Advanced Tasting Program. The 1981 Ridge, Zinfandel ATP, Fiddletown, Amador County was complete after it saw some air.  The wine was fully mature yet still had good fruit, acidity, and structure all in balance.  It was elegant but not lean and attractive enough that we finished up the leftovers when we returned home.  Sadly, the 1982 Ridge, Zinfandel ATP, Esola, Amador County was past drinking and according to Lou it deteriorated further.

The second pair of Ridge wines were designed Late Harvest and contained obvious residual sugar in the finished wine.  The 1976 Ridge, Zinfandel, Late Harvest I, Esola, Amador County was  produced from “very ripe Zinfandel” that were kept separate from the “main crop released as Late Harvest II.”  It showed a claret like personality that was given some roundness and weight from the touch of residual sugar.  It showed better integration on the second day with attractive mature notes rather than preserved notes.  The 1981 Ridge, Zinfandel, Late Harvest, Amador County was produced from grapes ripened beyond full maturity that were the last to be picked.  The flavors were simpler and shorter and while revealing cedar, it did not offer the level of bottle age flavors that the 1976 did.  What can I write except that I look forward to the second round of Ridge wines!


2007 Gruet, Grand Rose
This wine is 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir (that was aged 12 months in French oak) which saw 4 years of bottle age before release. Alcohol 12%.  There was almost nothing on the nose.  In the glass were the largest bubbles I have ever seen that burst with tremendous force in the mouth.  The wine soon became still with some notes of hard red fruit.  Not much going on. * Now.


1981 Ridge, Zinfandel ATP, Fiddletown, Amador County
Neck-shoulder fill.  This wine is 100% Zinfandel.  Alcohol 13.9%.  There was a musky, medicinal, sweaty nose that eventually blew off.  The mouth revealed some ripe and tart black/red fruit, structure, citric notes, and a tart, cranberry red finish before the minty fresh aftertaste.  With air the wine showed a gentle mature nose, became more salty and acidity driven.  *** Now.


1982 Ridge, Zinfandel ATP, Esola, Amador County
Bottom neck fill.  This wine is a blend of 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah sourced from vines planted in 1910.  Alcohol 12.3%.  This smelled past drinking on the nose which was confirmed on the palate.  There was, however, still acidity and drying tannins.  Not Rated.


1976 Ridge, Zinfandel, Late Harvest I, Esola, Amador County
Bottom neck fill.  This wine is 100% Zinfandel.  Residual Sugar 0.8% Alcohol 16%.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  There was an attractive, aromatic nose of cedar and sweet, mature red fruit.  In the mouth was a ripe and round start with obvious residual sugar.  The cola-like flavors were almost bracing.  The wine settled down into a blend of classic claret flavors rounded out by residual sugar.  The acidity was lively the entire time.  There was a long finish and clean, slightly warming aftertaste.  *** Now.


1981 Ridge, Zinfandel, Late Harvest, Amador County
High-shoulder fill.  This wine is 100% Zinfandel.  Residual Sugar 2%.  Alcohol 16.3%.  There were aromas of cork and cedar on the nose along with some low-lying funk.  In the mouth was a higher residual sugar level, cedar notes, and a refreshing aftertaste.  The wine was very much alive but offered simpler and shorter flavors of licorice and red fruit.  ** Now.


  1. winslowllc
    January 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Guess I need to get going on my remaining bottle of Ruwwe bubbly. The other one is the one that dropped on the floor and exploded so I can confirm that it had a lot of gas! I’m glad you’re feeling well at last! It’s free


    • January 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      I’ll have to dig through my paper notes to see what we thought when we all bought them several years back. I bet it exploded. There was so much pressure when I opened this bottle that the cork almost flew out of my hand. Thanks, it is good to be feeling better and want to taste wine again.

  1. January 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

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