Monday, August 29, 2005

Ridge Zinfandel Paso Robles 2003

While I was in New York, Stephanie drank our bottle of Ridge Geyserville, arguably California's best zinfandel (technically zin blend). She felt guilty and replaced it with Paul Draper's Paso Robles offering. She had to work late tonight, so I mourned her absence by cooking duck breast in a cranberry and woodear mushroom sauce with chive polenta and sauteed zucchini. This was an enormous magret duck breast I purchased from Whole Foods at $17 per pound, and like a previous sample it proved to be rather tough despite impeccable preparation. It will most likely be my last duck purchase from Whole Foods.

The zin was a fine pairing despite showing less character than its cousin from Geyserville. At a mere 14.8% alcohol, it was much more drinkable and food-friendly than other Cali zins (see my previous posting on Turley Old Vines 03). The wine's back label notes that in the warm Central Coast region, the grapes reached optimal ripeness before the tannins and acidity had sufficiently developed. Despite a variety of viticultural techniques designed to increase tannin and acidity, it seemed a tad short on the finish. Duck was perhaps the best choice for this wine, but it could also work with grilled ribeye or a heavily spiced quail.

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