Buffalo Ridge Zinfandel 1998
Zinfandel from Central Coast, California
The first Buffalo Ridge Zinfandel is quite a debut: its a big, powerful wine, rich with blackberry pie, raisin and berry aromas, sweetish, black fruit notes with cracked black pepper. Some spice and vanilla lingers on the mid palate. It has a clove-like silky finish, with a pleasant earthy quality reminiscent of Rhone Valley wines. With its robust flavors and tannins, this Zin is a red for the grill.
Buffalo Ridge Winery
Veteran Napa Valley winemaker Tom Eddy created the Buffalo Ridge red-wine brand as a destination for "wonderful fruit" that he found in California and Washington state vineyards, but which did not have a home in his Tom Eddy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon program. "I saw that consumers were looking for wines that were easy to drink, went well with food and fit their budgets. I was introduced to the French Camp vineyard in California's Central Coast, and a particular Syrah block there looked promising. I made the first Buffalo Ridge Syrah from French Camp in 1997, and I'm excited about the quality of wines that can be made from this and other 'undiscovered' vineyards in California and Washington."
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About Central Coast
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Notable Facts Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.