Sunday, March 2, 2008

2005 Ridge Vineyards Carmichael Zinfandel *

Light ruby. Extraordinarily pinot-esque. Mellow ripe cranberry, red jolly ranchers and light spices with a very mineral midpalate. This is nicely balanced but it's still too early to show real tannic structure. Strangely enough - there were some truffle, onion and garlic hints, which seemed strange to me, so I went online to try and find some info on what that could mean.
Apparently, these aromas can be indicative of something called mercaptan, which is generally considered a fault in wine. It occurs, for example, when finished wine is left on the lees too long. Similar to hydrogen sulphide in chemical make-up, but with one hydrogen atom replaced by an alkyl group (a carbon-hydrogen chain).
The funny thing is ... I liked this. It added a complexity to the wine that wasn't there otherwise. According to the article I read, linked above, critics adhering to something like a "pure" theory of wine criticism eschew these minor flaws, but I find that a rather provinvial method of enjoying a wine. I adhere to a more traditional wine-enjoyment philosophy, in which so-called flaws (e.g. brettanomyces contamination) add rather than subtract to the qualities of a wine.
So here's to all the little faults and imperfections that make wines beautiful, individual, and delicious!

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