Ridge 2011 Ponzo Zinfandel

2011 Ponzo Zinfandel bottle shot

2011 Zinfandel, Ponzo Vineyard, bottled December 2012
97% zinfandel, 3% petite sirah
Russian River Valley AVA
14.1% alcohol by volume

Winemaker John Olney's notes (back label text) - Late spring rains reduced yields for a second year, and cool summer temperatures slowed ripening. Fortunately, heat in mid-September fully matured the fruit just before the first fall rains. We harvested Triangle and Old Vine blocks on September 24, and Back block on October 1. After natural primary and malolactic fermentations, the three were combined and racked to barrel for twelve months of aging. The 2011 Ponzo has the intense fruit typical of a Russian River vineyard, and the bright acidity characteristic of the vintage. This elegant zinfandel will be most enjoyable over the next three to five years. JO (9/12)

Tasting Notes - Vibrant ruby, floral nose with notes of black pepper, cherry and clove. On palate focused raspberry with mint and vanilla, moderate alcohol, elegant tannins and well balanced acidity. JO (7/13)

Video Tasting Note

Presented by winemaker John Olney


Bob Ponzo has farmed these grapes for us in the Russian River Valley since 1999. Bob's vineyard, on deep gravely loam soils four and a half miles south of Lytton Springs provides all the fruit for this zinfandel. The Russian River Valley's cooler microclimate ripens the grapes shortly after Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest block.


Ponzo map

First RIDGE Ponzo: 2002
Location: Russian River Valley, south of Healdsburg on Old Redwood Highway
Soils: Deep, gravelly loam.
Vines: Mixed zinfandel, petite sirah, planted c. 1952, 4.0 acres (old vines).
Zinfandel planted 1992, 3.0 acres. (Triangle)
Zinfandel planted 1999, 5.0 acres. (Back Block)
Training: Majority head trained (no trellis), spur pruned; Back Block cordon trained.
Yields: Two to three tons per acre
Farming: Sustainably farmed

Aerial View - Ponzo Vineyard

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GPS coordinates: 38° 34' 35.99" N, 122° 50' 40.91" W
Note: Lytton Springs tasting room is 7.4 miles (12km) from this location.

Growing Season

Ponzo vines

Rainfall: 40 inches (above normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Wet spring and atypically cool summer, with no sustained heat spells.


Harvest Dates: 24 September and 1 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.5°
Fermentation: No inoculation — natural primary and secondary; rapid color and tannin extraction. Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 40% one and two years old, 40% three and four years old)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel


Hand harvested Bob Ponzo vineyard grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; Minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 111 ppm over the course of aging); aged in oak barrels; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Bottle UPC Packaged SRP Notes
750mL 744442839001 12x750mL $30 60 cases/pallet (15 per layer)


SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)


  • California Grapevine California Grapevine (Vol. 39, November 2013): "Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, forward, intense, briary, dark cherry fruit aroma with notes of dill, mocha, and black pepper; medium-full to full body; spicy, toasty, red berry fruit flavors with firm acidity; medium-full tannin; slightly tart on the finish; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended."
    (Group Score: 16.0 of 20 points, 0/1/0; My Score: 17 (90/100), eighth place)