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YORK CREEK ZINFANDEL Where quality is concerned, York Creek owner Fritz Maytag has credentials. His Anchor Steam Beer is one example, his vineyards in Napa's Mayacamas Range another. Ridge made its first York Creek wine—an amazing, still-vibrant petite sirah—in 1971, and its first zinfandel in 1975. Yields on the old, dry-farmed vineyards are low; clusters and berries are small. The word "intensity" is inescapable; it also applies to the wines. At their best, the petites display an arresting combination of black berry, raspberry, black pepper, earth, violets, leather. They have considerable structure—firm acid, big tannins—and take their time to come around. Then they stay around a long time, growing ever more interesting. The zinfandels tend toward the lean and focused, which is not to say restrained. They are spicy and earthy, with distinctive cherry/berry fruit that emerges as the wine develops in bottle (or glass.) Lacking the extreme longevity of the petites, they age well nonetheless.
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