Upper Ojai, Ventura County

I don’t know why, but every year I think of a new reason why this wine shouldn’t work out, yet every time it exceeds my expectations. One year I think the wine is too tannic, the next I am sure it is too fruity. But there is something special about this vineyard that makes for a wonderful wine every year. In 1999, then, I was doubly suspicious because every barrel of Roll tasted really special right from the start.

Ojai is warm, and in every other vintage the grapes at Roll Ranch have gone from veraison (the time when the grapes turn from green to purple) to full ripeness quickly. But the cool summer of 1999 was different and allowed these grapes to ripen more slowly, and that longer time on the vine enabled the grapes to ripen evenly and the color and flavors to concentrate. This, in essence, is why I think the 1999 tasted great from the start. Everything was in harmonious balance.

Aromatically, the 1999 is floral and full of plum and apricot, and the flavors are juicy and intense. This is certainly the biggest Roll Ranch since the monster 1996. It has finely delineated tannins that are well integrated into the structure of the wine, which makes it accessible and easy to enjoy today–yet the wine possesses incredible power and length that argue for further aging. This one is sure to be a crowd pleaser.