Chinese New Year celebrations can prove costly so spending your money wisely is essential. Choosing wine with which to celebrate, needs to fulfil a number of challenging criteria. It should be expensive but not so decadent as to leave you financially imperilled, you want to enjoy this wine not feel bullied by it. It needs to be globally recognised so that everyone appreciates that not only are you generous but also knowledgeable. Finally it should be something that demonstrates a little thought…so consider wines other than Bordeaux and Burgundy; my suggestion being California.
Ridge is famous, quite rightly for creating some of the most particular, long-lived and elegant wines of not only this State but anywhere. Although its reputation may have been founded on French varieties grown in the Santa-Cruz mountains, we are in America so why not buy something which is considered the American variety (whatever its European heritage): Zinfandel. Because of this variety’s association with medium sweet rosés and pleasurable but somewhat burly reds from further inland in California, it is understandable that some people regard Zinfandel as mediocre rather than monumental. But this is why Ridge (and at this point you could choose any number of their offerings made using this grape) and Lytton Springs in particular should figure highly on any serious wine-drinker’s wish list, because it demonstrates the apogee of what is possible. The inclusion of a good glug of Petite Sirah, a perfumed and opinionated variety, lends some grip to Zinfandel’s grease, leaving a wine worthy of celebrating the birth of a prosperous New Year.
Ridge, Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley, California (any vintage but the last I had was the 2009 which was drinking beautifully in 2014)
Grape: Normally a minimum of 70% Zinfandel with the remainder being primarily Petite Sirah
Wine-making: American oak barrels, 25% of which are new.
Note: Sweet and ripe with red and black fruit, spiced tea and pithy almost cranberry like tannins. Even with 14.5% alcohol this has a freshness and poise to match the restrained power. Delicious.
Cost: Approx 40USD
Score: 18/20 for the 2009