Dinner With Paul Draper in NYC - older vintages of Ridge (Cafe Boulud): A very rare wine indeed and the only Ridge Eisele ever made. This is riper and sweeter that the Montebello offerings with good intensity and an open, fleshy texture (according to paul, the alcohol level here was 1.5% higher than the typical Montebello given the early ripening of the vineyard). Best on the finish with complex notes of grilled nuts and dark spices. Much lighter in color than the Montebellos and not nearly as mineral-driven but still a balanced and delcious old cab that is very ready now.
There are some wines that due to their extreme rarity and so elusive, I never think I am going to taste it. 1971 Ridge Eisele was one of those wines. I will probably never see another bottle. But the experience is not one I will forget. Spice box, coconut, earth, black cherry liqueur, tobacco, cedar and fennel notes were enough to keep my interest. On the palate, the wine is soft, clean, fresh and packed with blackberry and cherry notes. This was still going strong at over 40 years of age.
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