This is a fantastic Cab. California fruit, French restraint.
It’s been about 3 years since I last tried one and some maturing has done wonders. While I thoroughly enjoyed it then, the Ridge signature of American oak has started to integrate, though still quite perceptible. A beautiful explosion of black and blue, sweet fruits, backed by some tart red fruits. Nuances of ripe tobacco, menthol, mossy earth. Still large-scale in structure, blocky, tannic, chewy finish. This Cab still has years to go. Sit on it for a few more years. An outstanding value, an outstanding red.
I have to caveat that I drink very few Cabs, and candidly am impressed by even less, and this wine, even Ridge, is almost too rich for my clunky, country French palate. Alcohol at 13.8% and it drinks at every bit of that level. It is perfect for what I wanted tonight, having a casual dinner of grilled pizza and cure meats. The pairing worked quite well. This would not be a wine that I would drink with any regularity, for me it’s a time and place wine. The leaner 2011 is more my style.
I have not had the 2009 Ridge wines, but agree with you about the 2011s. I have had the 2011 Monte Bello, Klein and Estate and really like all of them.
Ridge is my favorite California winery and, for California Cabernet, generally is a really good value. But, the world has turned on its head in the last year or two IMHO and when I look at 2014 Bordeaux future prices it seems like that is where the value is in the world of Cabernet. It is getting to be somewhat academic to me as I am getting too old to buy much young Bordeaux or California Cabernet, but that is how I am seeing it right now.
Ok, this is scandalous, but since I’m amongst friends, I will make a confession:
I played Sir-Mix-A-Lot last night. Wife was gone so I was getting freaky.
By glass three, I was starting to get tired with such richness of materials. I had half glass left. I also had about 3 ounces left of my bottle of Chinon from the prior night. So I mixed them. What I got was a “wow” wine, a Cali Cab/Merlot blend cut with some Loire Cab Franc. Was the perfect confluence of ripe materials blended with more of the earthy, ashy, barnyardy materials that I adore. Whatever it was that I made, I would buy!
We had the 2009 Ridge Estate Cab last night and tonight. Delicious.
If this was ever shut down or hard from tannins, or dominated by oak, those days are over (at least for my bottle).
The fruit is expressive and open, yet still dominant, without any “bottle bouquet” or other flavors that will come in the next stage of maturity. If you like your cabs when the tannins have faded but the fruit is still glorious, now is your time for this wine.