2006 Ribbon Ridge (RR) Pinot Noir Ridgecrest Vineyards Ribbon Ridge
Expert Ratings
RP 93 points
ST 92 points
(Read the full reviews below)
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Ridgecrest Vineyards Of 93pt Naysayers and Proving a Point

In the summer of 2006, Oregon's Willamette Valley was treated to turquoise skies and abundant sunshine. While there were few heat spikes, it would prove to be one of the hottest vintages on record, providing for almost Russian River-like sugars and tremendous Pinot Noir opulence.

When the blue chip class of 2006 was first released, consumers fell in love with the rich, forward flavors and fine black tea overtones. But amidst all the vintage hoopla, naysayers suggested that all that youthful concentration would never stand the test of time. After a half-dozen years in bottle, it was suggested, weak backbone would prove insufficient to keep pace with the uncharacteristic lushness of the vintage.

In the spring of 2009, we dropped in on Harry Peterson-Nedry, asking the wizard of Ribbon Ridge to weigh in on the debate. On the eve of the release of Harry's extravagant 400-case production of 2006 "RR," the North Carolinian chemist wouldn't hold back. Harry is the most charming of dinner hosts, his southern politesse as genteel as it can be. But when it came to vinous debate, Peterson-Nedry turned alpha male, defending his position with Stonewall Jackson certitude.

"When I saw the 2006 clusters," Harry said, "I thought of 1976 in Pommard. The berries were small. The sugars high. Many said the wines would be too concentrated, short on acid, and quick to age. But the Burgundians who handled their 76s properly made Pommard, Volnay and Vosne-Romanee that outdistanced their '78s. I still have a few in the cellar. They haven't budged."

Peterson-Nedry opted to handle his 2006 harvest differently than he had in the past. Recognizing the high sugars and immense concentration, he performed whole-cluster fermentation with 20% of the bunches, infusing a sort of chewy, briary density to his 2006 RR. In the spring of 2009, the wine was massive -- a huge mouthful of cassis and Earl Gray tea, enveloping what Harry claimed to be the firmest of underpinnings.

Parker raved, dropping 93 points. Tanzer followed suit. But back in 2009, there was only one way for Peterson-Nedry to win the debate. In a piping-hot market, fueled by the critics' reviews, Harry did what no sensible winemaker ever does. He held back one-fifth of his production -- or 80 cases -- just to prove a point.

Six full years after bottling, the astounding 2006 RR Pinot Noir, drawn from 16 handpicked barrels off of prized Ridgecrest Vineyard seems locked in suspended animation. Deepest ruby -- almost purple -- in color with explosive aromas of ripe raspberry and currant, black tea, sweet herbs and underbrush, the attack is rich and dense, the texture dense and chewy. Showing no signs whatsoever of its age -- much like those '76 Burgundies in 1983 -- Peterson-Nedry has silenced the naysayers with what most believe to be the most spectacular Oregon Pinot Noir of 2006.

Tasting Notes

2006 Ribbon Ridge (RR) Pinot Noir Ridgecrest Vineyards Ribbon Ridge
"The 2006 RR was sourced from the Ridgecrest Vineyard. It offers an enticing nose of spice box, smoke, and red and black fruits followed by a dense, full-bodied, structured wine. The flavors are savory and sweet with plenty of spice leading to a long, pure finish. Give it 3-4 years in the cellar and drink it through 2021."
93 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

"Saturated red color. Cherry-cola, blackberry and rose on the nose. Vibrant red and dark berry flavors are given depth by sweet cola and licorice qualities and framed by velvety tannins. Suavely blends richness with vivacity and finishes with echoes of sweet dark berries and candied flowers. This is really sexy."
92 points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

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