Thanksgiving wines: Kim Crawford, Orin Swift, Ridge

Went out to dinner for the first time on a Thanksgiving. About 15 people, a couple wine geeks but mainly casual wine drinkers. Went to Riva Grill in South Lake Tahoe. Big place, nice setting, pretty good food, medium-to-small wine list with a nice variety.
Notes will be brief since it was a social family event.

2008 Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc: I ordered this because I usually love New Zealand SB’s. The aroma was bursting with zesty grapefruit which continued on to the palate. It was complimented by a nice grassy finish. My favorite wine of the three, and very reasonable. (90 pts.)

2007 Orin Swift, The Prisoner I have had a few Orin Swift wines, but never the Prisoner. I have been very happy with their wines over the years. This one is too young. We popped and poured, and the initial aroma was almost that of a cheap wine. That caught me off guard. I left some in my glass to breath, and that disappeared after about an hour. Nice weight to the wine, nice finish with a little kick of spice. Even though it was enjoyable, and the favorite of the night for the table, I think I personally would like it more under different circumstances. (88 pts.)

2007 Ridge Zinfandel, Geyserville The aroma of this wine had a quality that is an instant turn-off to me – overripe and porty aroma. I can handle it if it’s minor, but this was about a 9 on a scale of 10. If I just smelled this wine without tasting, I would guess Port, and be surprised when I was wrong. Getting past that, it had a nice balance to it. The jamminess was lower than I thought it would be, but it carried through the mid-palate nicely. I can see why some people might enjoy it, but it was not for me at all. (81 pts.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I haven’t tried the '07 Prisoner but had the '06 on a couple of occasions. Both times I found that it was unpenetrable unitl it had about 3.5 hours of air. When it finally opened up it was extremely expressive. It was one of the most wide open wines I’ve ever had. Huge raspberry fruit and chocolate flavors. If you enjoyed this tight, consider giving it another shot with a proper decant. Perfect wine for entertaining over cocktails.

I think the '08 just came out. I know what I am doing tomorrow night!

That’s sort of the impression I got that night. It didn’t feel like it was being sampled under very good circumstances. It did spark some curiosity, and I plan on trying it again.

I agree on The Prisoner. Absolutely needs time, both in the bottle and under air. I love young wines, but these need at least 2-4 years in bottle, and at least 3-4 hours of air. They are dense and impenetrable and then suddenly bright, crisp, complex. Love them. Cannot stand Kim Crawford SB, or most NZ SB’s actually.

Thanks, I was going to ask about the Prisoner after seeing a guy scope up 3 bottles downtown yesterday. Not cheap here, $80 Cdn I think?

Ouch! Pass at that price. It generally runs $35 here but can be had for less on occasion. Seek it out on your next shopping trip down south.

I don’t know if the '08 Prisoner is released yet, but I’ve got a case of it in my cellar. This was my third year selling fruit to Orin-Swift and these guys are a class act all of the way. Yeah, they like their grapes ripe, but every aspect of how they run their business is top flight. [thumbs-up.gif] Its my understanding that they buy fruit from about 100 growers, some as little as 5 tons, others much more. They’ve also started buying more from Mendocino in the past two years. Its possible that they sent a case of the Prisoner to every one of their growers. From my experience, I’m going to hold for 6-8 months before opening any.

The '08 prisoner was released 11/1.