2011 Ridge Three Valleys

2011 Ridge Three Valleys

Varietal Information
65% Zinfandel
20% Petite Sirah
9% Carignane
3% Mataro
2% Alicante Bouchet
1% Grenache

13.8% Alcohol by Volume

91 points, Wine Enthusiast
89 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous

History

The history of the Ridge Sonoma County Three Valleys began with the release of the 2001. The wine contains grapes from a number of Sonoma vineyards - this year, seven. We take great care in selecting the fruit, which is hand-harvested, then crushed and fermented at both Monte Bello and Lytton Springs. Unlike our single-vineyard wines, which reflect the distinctive character of each site, Three Valleys represents the blending of vineyards - winemaking - at it's finest. Zinfandel determines the wine's varietal character; old-vine carignane contributes bright fruit and acidity; petite sirah spice, depth of color, and firm tannins; grenache brings briary fruit and lively tannins.

Vintage

Harvest Dates: 19 September – 25 October
Grapes: Average Brix 23.6˚
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Grapes fully crushed and fermented in small stainless steel tanks; fermenting juice circulated over the cap twice daily for extraction of color, tannin, and flavor. Full, natural malolactic to soften acidity. Pressed at six days on average.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (10% new, 20% one and two years old, and 70% three to five years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel

Growing Season

Rainfall: 40 inches (above average)
Bloom: Mid May
Weather: Wet spring and typical cool summer, with no sustained heat spells.

Winemaker Tasting Notes

Aromas of briar fruit, dried herbs, clay earth, and sweet oak. Fresh raspberry and cherry flavors together with savory oak spice. Medium bodied with moderate acidity, round tannins, and a lively finish.(2/12)

Tasting Notes and Reviews


2008 THREE VALLEYS


Nicholas Ponomareff, California Grapevine - 2010/4/1


ZINFANDEL New Releases


2008 Ridge, "Three Valleys," Sonoma County ($22) Medium-dark ruby; attractive, herbal, briary, raspberry jam aroma with notes of cedar and vanilla; full body; cedary, cranberry and raspberry fruit flavors with a tight and somewhat hard finish; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended. 14.2% alcohol; 17,900 cases; a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 11% PS, 5% Carignane, 4% Mataro, 3% Syrah, and 3% Grenache; released April 2010. (Group Score: 15.6, 1/1/0; My Score: 16.5 [88/100], seventh place)

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2007 THREE VALLEYS


Charles E. Olken, Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine - 2009/5/1


Zinfandel


RIDGE VINEYARDS Zinfandel Three Valleys Dry Creek Valley 2007 SCORE: 90 * 8% Petite Sirah; 7% Syrah; 6% Grenache; 3% Carignane. When measured against its far riper cousins, this very well-balanced wine may seem a bit light on muscle, but what is really missing is fat, and, instead, it turns out to be both deep and quite long on bona fide fruity substance. Its careful composition and keen, claret-like structure mark it indelibly as an eminently food-worthy Zin for now and the next few years.

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2007 THREE VALLEYS


Nicholas Ponomareff, California Grapevine - 2009/6/1


ZINFANDEL - New Releases


2007 Ridge, "Three Valleys," Sonoma County ($22) Medium to medium-dark purplish ruby; subdued, tight, stemmy, dark cherry fruit aroma; medium-full body; somewhat simple, briary, berry fruit flavors; medium-full to full tannin; hard finish; lingering aftertaste. Recommended. 14.3% alcohol; 24,750 cases; blended with 8% PS, 7% Syrah, 6% Grenache, and 3% Carignane; released April 2009. (Group Score: 15.3, 0/0/0; My Score: 16 [84/100], eleventh place)

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2007 THREE VALLEYS


Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast - 2009/12/1


Buying Guide


An absolutely beautiful Zin, and a must-have for restaurant wine lists. It’s pure and complex in blackberries, cherries, cola and mocha, with wonderful spices erupting all the way though, and the most elegant silky texture. What a great job. - S.H. Wine Enthusiast Rating: 92

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2006 THREE VALLEYS


Joshua Greene, Wine & Spirits - 2008/6/1


American New Releases


SCORE: 93 2006 Sonoma County Three Valleys Zinfandel One of the friendliest Ridge zins we've tasted in a long time, this is exuberant and focused on fresh black cherry flavors. It has a cool, foresty feel to balance the tannins and their lasting spice. Give those tannins anything meaty, especially slow-smoked ribs.

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2005 THREE VALLEYS


Patrick Comiskey, Los Angeles Times - 2007/6/27


Lining up some fine Ridge wines


2005 Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel Sonoma County. The only wine in the portfolio sourced from multiple vineyards, it is typically composed of declassified, younger vine fruit from the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys. The simplest and most accessible of all Ridge wines, with juicy plum and black cherry flavors and a creamy texture.

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2005 THREE VALLEYS


James Laube, Wine Spectator - 2007/6/30


New Releases: California


Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County 2005 $20 Exotic aromas of Chinese five-spice, toasty oak and plum lead to concentrated blueberry, tobacco and licorice notes that take on a rustic grip of tannins on the finish. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Grenache and Mataro. Best from 2008 through 2012. 7,000 cases made. Rated: 87

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2005 THREE VALLEYS


Charles E. Olken, Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine - 2007/5/1


Zinfandel


RIDGE Three Valleys Sonoma County 2005 SCORE: * 89 74% Zinfandel; 13% Petite Sirah; 8% Carignane; 3% Grenache; 2% Mourvedre. Its mix of supporting grapes gives this measured, mannerly wine a slightly different cast in which its blackberryish fruit combines with aromas of ripe plums and boysenberries. An added note of creamy oak uplifts without challenging for center stage, and the wine is equally focused and well-proportioned in the mouth. It is long on flavor and will serve happily alongside pork roasts and ribs.

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2005 THREE VALLEYS


Nicholas Ponomareff, California Grapevine - 2007/6/1


Zinfandel


2005 Ridge, "Three Valleys," Sonoma County ($30) -- Medium ruby; attractive, tight, spicy, toasty, raspberry and black cherry fruit aroma with a note of dill; medium-full to full body; tight, herbal, berry fruit flavors; firmly structured, full tannin; tending to be a bit hard on the finish, lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended. 14.2% alcohol; 24,000 cases; a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 13% PS, 8% Carignane, 3% Grenache, and 2% Mataro; released April 2007. Group Score: 15.6, 0/0/0; My Score: 16.5 [85/100], tenth place)

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2004 THREE VALLEYS


Charles E. Olken, Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine - 2006/5/1


Zinfandel


RIDGE VINEYARDS California Sonoma County Three Valleys 2004 SCORE: 88 * 68% Zinfandel; 11% Carignane; 10% Syrah; 7% Petite Sirah; 4% Grenache. Mostly Zinfandel in composition and primarily Zin in its blackberry character, this wine is just a little more open on the palate than most its peers, including its Ridge mates, and it also shows hints of sweet strawberries and vanilla in its inviting mix. Time in bottle is not a prerequisite here, but the wine has the balance and fruit to hold up well.

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2004 THREE VALLEYS


Robert Parker, Wine Advocate - 2006/6/30


Zinfandel


This venerable producer, with as fine a track record as any winery in the world, continues to turn out high quality Zinfandels... RIDGE 2004 THREE VALLEYS PROPRIETARY RED --- SCORE: 89 Thrifty consumers will no doubt get a juicy charge from the 2004 Three Valleys, a 15,000-case proprietary blend of 68% Zinfandel, 11% Carignane, 10% Syrah, and the rest Petite Sirah and Grenache. A pretty, elegant wine with lush raspberry and black cherry fruit, a seductive texture, medium body, 14.1% alcohol, and beautiful integration of acidity, wood, and tannin, it should drink well for 2-3 years.

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2004 THREE VALLEYS


Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar - 2006/9/1


New Releases from California's Central Coast


2004 Three Valleys Sonoma County ($20; 68% zinfandel, 11% carignane, 10% syrah, 7% petite sirah and 4% grenache): Bright medium red. Red berries, rose petal and exotic spices on the nose. Then juicy, peppery and distinctly dry in the mouth, with a leanness to the red berry flavors. Finishes with dusty tannins and a building dryness. SCORE: 87

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2002 THREE VALLEYS


Robert Parker, Wine Advocate - 2005/2/28


Ridge Vineyards


Ridge has been a reference point winery for so many years you would think they are hundreds of years old. The fact is, their history began in 1886, when an Italian doctor purchased over 180 acres on the top of Monte Bello Ridge. Prohibition put an end to that period of history, but in 1959, some of the original vineyard was purchased by the founders of the modem day Ridge winery. Their first commercial vintage was 1962, and the current winemaker, Paul Draper, arrived in 1968. The 2002 marks 40 vintages of the Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine, making it, by California terms, an ancient cuvée. With respect to Ridge’s Zinfandel program, Paul Draper, who deserves much of the credit for making Zinfandel famous, continues to turn out a bevy of delicious Zinfandels in addition to numerous multi-varietal blends. 2002 LYTTON SPRINGS PROPRIETARY RED RUSSIAN RIVER, DRY CREEK. & ALEXANDER VALLEYS ...More seductive and hedonistic is the soft, fleshy, medium-bodied, dark plum/ruby-colored 2002 Three Valleys. This blend of 76% Zinfandel, 13% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah, and 3% Mourvêdre is on a fast evolutionary track, revealing loads of fruit as well as a silky texture. It is a delicious red to gulp down at your favorite bistro. ($20.00) Score: 89

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2001 THREE VALLEYS


Karen MacNeil-Fife, Sunset - 2004/3/1


Blend Trend


Ridge Vineyards "Three Valleys" 2001 (Sonoma County), $18. A winning blend of Carignane, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Zinfandel, with bright, fresh blueberry and blackberry flavors and a rustic edge of tannin. Very satisfying with grilled meats.

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2001 THREE VALLEYS


Frank J. Prial, New York Times - 2003/9/10


Wine Talk --- $400 Bottle's Too High? Try Its $18 Cousin


Correction: September 17, 2003, Wednesday The Wine Talk column last Wednesday, about winemakers that sell cheaper lines in addition to their premium labels, gave an erroneous name at one point for a premium zinfandel made by Ridge Vineyards. As noted elsewhere in the column, it is Geyserville, not Geyser Peak. $400 Bottle's Too High? Try Its $18 Cousin September 10, 2003 By FRANK J. PRIAL WINEMAKERS have reacted in a variety of ways to the continuing economic downturn. Some have simply ignored it. The 2000 vintage Bordeaux, which sold at record prices, are gone with the exception of a few leftovers, like Cheval Blanc at $800 a bottle or Leoville-Barton at $235. Cult cabernets from the Napa Valley still command $200, even $300 a bottle and $100 a bottle, once a shocking excess, is now commonplace. Restaurants, the top ones anyway, roll blithely on, their wine lists seemingly recession-proof. Just the other day, in a moderately expensive place in New York, I discovered a Corton-Charlemagne at $1,300. A good fish wine. On a more realistic level, prices have indeed dropped. Newsletters and magazines for wine fans are vying with each other these days to offer the best lists of "wine bargains" or "wines under $10." Grape surpluses everywhere have made it easy to offer wines at rock bottom prices. Witness the success, however ephemeral, of the $2 California wine from Charles Shaw, better known as "Two Buck Chuck." Premium wine producers, mindful of their reputations, have been pressed to find more ingenious ways to move down the economic ladder. Some, like Robert Mondavi or the big Australian winemakers, already have separate labels at different price levels. For a smaller prestige producer the problem can be trickier. Ridge Vineyards, in Cupertino, Calif., is an interesting example. For almost 40 years, Ridge has managed to combine tradition and innovation. It is a cult winery with fiercely loyal fans who collect its great cabernet sauvignon-based wine called Monte Bello and its zinfandels like Lytton Springs and Geyser Peak [sic]. At the same time it is known for its steady output of intriguing, often unique wines made from unusual grapes or blends of grapes bypassed by others. This year, to reflect the current emphasis on economy, Ridge has introduced a zinfandel-based Sonoma County wine called Three Valleys. The grapes come from young vines in six vineyards in the Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River valleys in northern and northwestern Sonoma. Two of the vineyards are owned by Ridge. The wine has a geographic rather than a varietal or grape name because there is not enough of any single grape in the blend to qualify it for a varietal name. The varieties in Three Valleys are 50 percent zinfandel, 15 percent each of petite sirah and carignane, 11 percent mataro (called mourvedre in France), and 9 percent grenache. By law a wine must contain 75 percent of one grape variety to bear its name. Most of these grapes were planted in recent years. In better times they would be permitted to grow to maturity and become part of Ridge's "site specific" wines. In other words, wine identified by the name of the grape and the vineyard, a Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel, for example. Like many premium California wineries, Ridge has several tiers or levels of quality. The top wines come from cosseted older vines - some of them more than 100 years old. These vines often produce the best fruit but very little of it, making the cost of the wine produced from them correspondingly high. Along with Monte Bello, which is an ever-changing blend of (mostly) cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc, these wines include zinfandels from Lytton Springs, Geyserville, Pagani Ranch, York Creek and Paso Robles. Second-tier wines also come from the best mature vines but not from the best batches. A wine like Monte Bello may be put together from 30 or more separate lots of wine. The grapes from different parts of the vineyard are vinified separately and blended later. Just as in Bordeaux, some lots of wine, even from the best grapes, fail to make the cut and go into a second-tier wine. "In a perfect world, the whole crop would be worthy of the final blend," said Donn Reisen, Ridge's winemaker, "but this never happens." Grapes meant for but ultimately excluded from the Monte Bello, mostly end up in Ridge's second-tier - and less expensive - cabernet blend called Santa Cruz Mountains. Sonoma Station is the name of a second-tier predominantly zinfandel blend made at Lytton Springs in Sonoma. It is composed of mature vineyard lots that failed to make it into the best-known Ridge zinfandels. As a blend, it resembles the new Three Valleys, which is a third-tier wine. In some vintages, the top wines may not appear at all. Almost since its inception, Ridge has made a small quantity of chardonnay with, again, the best going under the Monte Bello label. In 2001, not enough was thought to be of Monte Bello quality so it came out as Santa Cruz Mountains chardonnay. Prices reflect a wine's place on the Ridge quality scale. Most of the single-vineyard zinfandels range from around $25 to $35. The most recent Sonoma Station is $20 at the winery; the New Three Valleys is $18. The 2000 Monte Bello is $120 at the winery but so rare in the open market that it can sell for $175 or more in retail shops. Older Monte Bellos are extremely hard to find and their prices reflect as much. The 1978 sells for $400 a bottle and up; the 1981 for $350 or more. None of Ridge's wines are made in huge quantities but wines like Sonoma Station and Three Valleys should not be difficult to find. Most good shops carry at least a few of the top zinfandels as well. Ridge has long been a proponent of ripe, powerful, high-alcohol wines, a style widely adopted in California in recent years. Many of the newer versions of these wines resemble ungainly ports more than they do table wines. Not so Ridge wines. At their best, they are big but elegant, intense but nuanced. And, thanks to clever resource management, at least some of them are quite affordable.

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2001 THREE VALLEYS


Charles E. Olken, Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine - 2003/6/1


Zinfandel


Score 87 ~ 1 Star * RIDGE Three Valleys Sonoma County 2001 50% Zinfandel; 15% Petite Sirah; 15% Carignane; 11 % Mourvedre; 9% Grenache. Not unlike the wine below in composition and reminiscent of it also in its lack of clear varietal focus, it too reminds of a blend from the southern wine regions of Europe, and its slight edge in richness and evident fruit earn it the nod over its mate below. $18.00

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2001 THREE VALLEYS


Robert Parker, Wine Advocate - 2003/6/30


Great Wine Values For Under $20.00


RIDGE 2001 THREE VALLEYS CALIFORNIA ($18.00) RED Score: 90 A terrific blend from winemaker Paul Draper, this concoction of 50% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 15% Carignan, 11% Mourvedre, and 9% Grenache tips the scales at 14.1%. A California Rhone Valley look- alike, it boasts loads of raspberry, black cherry, and currant fruit, excellent density, and a sweet, glycerin-imbued mouthfeel offering charm, succulence, and loads of character. This medium to full- bodied, voluptuous, sexy red is ideal for drinking over the next 4-5 years.

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2001 THREE VALLEYS


Robert Parker, Wine Advocate - 2003/10/31


California Zinfandels – A Very Good Vintage


2001 Three Valleys Proprietary Red -- SCORE: 90 Paul Draper continues to perform brilliantly with his diverse group of Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based blends. His recent portfolio did not reveal a single disappointing offering. An outstanding value, the 2001 Three Valleys Proprietary Red is a blend of 50% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 15% Carignan, and the rest Mourvedre and Grenache from the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander valleys. It possesses loads of blackberry, cherry, and raspberry fruit intermixed with spice and pepper characteristics. Full-bodied, expansive, succulent as well as sexy, this gorgeous, upfront, surprisingly complex red will drink well for 5-6 years.

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