Eagle Ridge Vineyard has built a reputation for producing fine wines for more than ten years. In addition to fine Zinfandels, Petite Sirahs, Cabernet Sauvignons, and even a few blends, there is also a respectable library of Ports. We recently stopped in for a taste of their latest Port release.
We crested the hill of Eagle Ridge (yes, it is a ridge and there are real, live eagles) to find that we were not the only people interested in exploring their wine. The tasting bar was comfortably full of happy tasters and we eagerly joined in at the granite end of the bar. Owner/winemaker Jim greeted us by name, noting that we had not visited lately. Knowing that we had a Wine Club package waiting behind the counter just added to our excitement.
We started with their 2017 Pinot Grigio, full of rounded edges and tamed citrus notes. We loved the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, with so much fruit and restrained tannins. Truly a gateway Cab for people who haven’t yet learned to love Cabs! We next compared the 2013 and 2014 Zinfandels. A fascinating comparison; the same vineyard, the same winemaker, the same style of barrels, yet dramatically different wines. The 2013 showed wonderful fruit up front, leading to moderate pepper on the finish, without any tannic bite. The 2014 had brighter fruit and somewhat more white pepper and tannin on the finish. This one will be amazing in a few years!
We moved onto their Raptor, one of the new blends to grace Eagle Ridge. We loved the lovely balanced layers of fruit cascading across the tongue. The Eagle X, the other blend in the house, was bursting with dark pitted fruit and a hint of cranberry. The 2014 Malbec was soft and luscious. Although we knew we had a bottle waiting for us in the Club pack, we added a second bottle to our “take home” list. We finished our wine flight with their amazing 2013 Petite Sirah. Jim told us that it recently won a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition. We certainly agreed with this decision, as the Eagle Ridge Petite Sirah is the largest single wine investment in our collection.
That brought us to our true reason for visiting: the Port. Yes, technically these are “Port style” wines, since Livermore is nowhere near Portugal, but that doesn’t matter to us. We fell in love with MadLyn, their very first Port, so many years ago. Over time, Jim released three more Ports, each wonderful in its own way. Recently, the winery ran out of MadLyn. Only careful management of our home inventory kept this situation from being a crisis. Just as we were about to run out, we heard the exciting news: MadLyn was being released again! We tasted our way through the new MadLyn (welcome back and don’t ever run out again), the MadCait (Sarah suggested pairing with ice cream and oatmeal cookies) and Caits (Rob’s new favorite).
We collected our Club pack, added in a healthy side order of wine and Port, and set off toward our next tasting. Thanks to Jim for bringing back MadLyn before we completely ran out!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?