TN's: Pride, Ridge, Pichon, Raf

I am catching up on some recent wines here. No formal notes, just some impressions.

2001 Pride Cabernet – Extremely dark for a 10-year old wine, with a dark purple color and very little bricking at the edges. Lots of currant, cedar and oak on the nose. Red fruit on the palate, with substantial tannins. The only disappointment with this wine is that it has not really developed complexity at the 10-yr mark.

1997 Ridge Geyserville – A beautiful wine! The oak, acids and fruit are perfectly integrated at this point. Spicy, brambly fruit on the nose and palate. At peak, and well stored bottles should have several years of life left. This ranks just behind the 1991 as my favorite Geyserville from that decade.

1996 Pichon Baron – Decanted for an hour. Medium bodied, with cigar box, smoke, cedar and pencil on the nose. There is earth, leather, spice and red fruit on the finish, with nicely integrated tannins. An excellent wine and probably close to its plateau.

2008 Rafanelli Cabernet – Obviously very young but very approachable and already drinking well. Beautiful red ruby in color, with oak and blackberry on the nose. Very smooth, with a nice long finish and sweet tannin. Hold this wine for 2-3 years.

2006 Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay – Golden in color, with vanilla, oak, and lemon on the nose. Very concentrated wine, with some toasted almond, butter and a touch of apple on the finish. Excellent wine and close in quality to the 2007 Monte Bello Chard.

Side note on the Ridge Chardonnay – my wife and I went up to Napa for the day last Sunday and introduced ourselves to Randy and Carrie Bowman at Napa Valley Wine and Cigar, and purchased this wine there. They were very friendly and gave us a nice tour of their store. It was our first experience purchasing from them, but definitely will not be our last. One of the major benefits of these boards is meeting great people like Randy and Carrie!