Chris’ March Pick: Ridge Three Valleys 2009

I’d like to apologize.  I held onto my March pick a little too long and ended up drinking it this past weekend in Tahoe amidst blue skies and lush skiing.  As penance for my tardiness, I’ll review 2 wines: my March pick from Ridge Vineyards and a special red blend from our favorite friends at Sequoia Grove.

Rebellious Red & Ridge 3 Valleys

Starting with the Ridge Three Valleys, we were pleasantly surprised with this wine as a great complement to our juicy steaks after our first day of snowboarding.  While the highlights of the day were the 70 degrees, empty mountain, and 0 injuries, the Ridge Zinfandel played its roll by capping the successful day.  I’ve wanted to try Ridge for a while.  They have a storied past, starting back in the late 19th century, with their participation in the 1976 Judgment of Paris and 5th place finish for their Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon.  Since today’s Monte Bello runs $145 a bottle, I opted for their low end Zinfandel blend to get a sense of their wine-making.  While not blown away, this Zinfandel holds its own with classic dark fruit flavors, spice, and maybe even a hint of caramel.  Sadly it wasn’t too memorable, so I’d have a hard time paying $20 for that wine again.  Regardless, I’m looking forward to give the rest of their wines a try at some point.

After a second successful, injury free day snowboarding, Linda and I came home realizing we didn’t have a key ingredient for dinner that night.  We called in for help (ie pizza) from the good people of Fifty Fifty Brewing Company and their Diablo pizza – spicy concoction of sausage, pepperoni, and jalapeno.  Lucky for us, we saved the spicy compadre de vino for our second night.  Sequoia Grove’s Rebelious Red is a blend of many-a-grape.  In fact, the label doesn’t even include the breakdown between varietals, but we remembered that it was dominated by Sangiovese, the main Italian ingredient of Chianti.  Make no mistake, Sequoia Grove is known for their Cabernet Sauvignons, but this playful number deserves your attention as well.  It shows great berry fruit (the black, blue, and rasp kind) balanced with a range of spices.  It shined best with our dinner but still retained solo drinkability once the pizza was polished off.  I’m certainly looking forward to the next release of Rebellious Red since the mix of varietals change with each year.  Luckily the mix of grape and talent doesn’t change with Sequoia Grove.

Chris' Pick, Red Wine, Sangiovese, Zinfandel

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