Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Very Tasty Geyser

In the week the greatest football club in E13 went Icelandic, it seemed appropriate that The Juice was debating how to pronounce the word geyser. TJ is sure they are ‘geezers’ but Paul Draper reckons otherwise. And he should know. Draper has been in charge at
California’s stellar Ridge winery since Nixon was in the White House and is famous for his Geyserville Zinfandel. Bowing to his superior knowledge, TJ conceded they were ‘guysers’ and comforted himself with the thought he was sitting pretty with a tidy line-up of wines to check out.

Zinfandel is that most American of grapes, as much a part of the landscape as giant parking lots and drive-thru donut joints, and Paul Draper makes the best there is. The Geyserville is a cracker – however you say it. Best enjoyed in its youth, it is a master of the old iron-fist-in-velvet-glove trick with a perfume to remind you of Heston Blumenthal’s kirsch aromatiser (what? Ed.) With a hefty dose of ancient vine Carignan in the blend too, there is also a faint whisper of the Roussillon in there. Restraint and concentration in the same wine. Who woulda thought it?

The Lytton Springs is a bigger beast and worth some time in the cellar too. At 10 years old it was still playing the field, the fruit refusing to fade gracefully. It had a moody, brooding power and the suggestion of something angry about it. You half expected the sweet cherries in the background to burst through the door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining: “Heeeeere’s Lytton!”

After the Zins it was time to take the bus to Cabernetville. Ridge’s Monte Bello vineyard is an undisputed First Growth of California. Winner of the recent Paris 1976 Revisited tasting, it is the sort of wine that just gets better and better with time. At four years old the 2002 was a case of still waters running deep but the 1992 was jumping. Fabulous colour with only a hint of amber – the foot was on the pedal but the lights hadn’t changed – and the nose? Oh, the nose: plum sauce, herbs, soy, and freshly sawn pine. This really was something. Running through it all was an uber-cool freshness not unlike the weird sensation TJ gets from Mrs Juice’s mint and tea tree oil conditioner. Wrapped up with some strict tannins, this was a beauty with time on its side.

And with all the glasses empty, off The Juice went humming Sinatra and blowing Icelandic bubbles into the night.

That Paul Draper, he’s some geyser.


At 2:57 AM, Blogger Tom said...


He likes this site !


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