Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stephan Ridge Red Wine

Stephan Vineyards
Stephan Ridge
Syrah, Cabernet
Paso Robles, California

$19.99 -- Grapevine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Dark garnet, browning at the edges
Nose: Plum
Body: Full
Front: Roasted figs
Middle: Chocolate
Back: A little heat, cedar
Burns clean?: Hard to say; I only managed one glass
Cap: Cork

This wine caught my attention because I had the L'Aventure Optimus and nearly cried. Apparently I was so impaired by affection that I didn't write a blog entry on it. That will be corrected. At any rate, this is made by the same French dude, out in the boonies of Paso Robles, who made the awesome Optimus. It's a blend that I've been proven to hate, and it's nine years old, which, given that the winery was fairly new at that time, ought to mean it's past its prime.

It may be. But if you like a sweet, beefy wine, this will make you happy. Surprisingly, there's still a bit of heat on the end of the palate, but the rest of the way it's a round, rich wine. It's not the Optimus, but then, I suspect that it's getting a bit intense and perhaps unbalanced with age, and favoring the roasted figgy end of the spectrum.

Note: I drank the 2001 tonight.  This one's a little less past prime, but still too sweet for me.  But it's much more reserved; chocolate, cranberries on the nose, and raspberry compote and mocha on the palate, with something weirdly spicy in there, too.  A bit brown at the edges, though, so it's getting to the end of its tether.