Wine & Spirits Reviews RIDGE Wines

Wine & Spirits

March 2024

This spring, we welcome new reviews from Wine & Spirits. From Chardonnay and Carignane to Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, there’s a wine in this post for everyone. Read on to explore 90+ point scores from writers Joshua Greene and Patrick J. Comiskey.

2021 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel | 94 points

“Felice Pagani began planting vines at an old dairy farm in the 1890s, then added more blocks in 1914. His great-grandchildren continue to farm 30 acres of centenarian vines on the property near Kenwood, having replanted some of the blocks between 2013 and 2018. Mostly zinfandel and petite sirah with a little mataro and alicante bouschet, the varied blocks provide fruit for John Olney’s team at Ridge to transform into mixed-black riches. In 2021, it’s a wine of powerful concentration and supple elasticity to its spicy tannins. Bright and complete, this is a wine that will age for a decade or more.” —J.G.

2020 Monte Bello Chardonnay | 93 points

“From Ridge’s organically farmed estate in the hills of Cupertino, this ferments spontaneously in barrels, 10 percent of them new, 90 percent of them American oak, with the balance of the wood from France. For now, the wine is hiding within its oak, offering lemon-meringue riches in a pale, completely dry chardonnay. While the toast and malolactic characters still dominate, there’s a lot of wine here, needing time to mellow and develop.” —J.G.

2021 Sandy Lane Carignane | 93 points

“From an own-rooted vineyard with plantings going back to the 1890s, this wine has the reserve, composure and assuredness that carignane flaunts when it’s got some vine age. It leads with red-cherry and red-berry aromas, giving way to a barbecue-sauce sweetness. The flavors deepen from luscious strawberry to dark blue plum, with classic carignane briar and spice, and fruit-skin giving a wild berry grip.” —P.J.C.

2021 Three Valleys | 93 points

“Drawing on fruit from ten Sonoma County vineyards, in 2021 Three Valleys presents a cornucopia of fruit in a classical blend that feels like an exuberant family relation to Geyserville. It’s ripe, and rich in structure under all that fruit energy—black mineral tannins in the service of the fruit combining in dark chocolate and mushroom notes. All of it needs time to integrate, but, even now, the tannins keep opening like a door to the land.” —J.G.

2021 Benito Dusi Zinfandel | 92 points

“Dusi is one of the oldest surviving Paso plantings, with vines going back to 1923. Ridge ages this zin in American oak—20 percent new—and that oak leads, with the fruit lagging. After a day, the spice of the oak melds with lovely spiced fruit, a plum character dusted with nutmeg. It feels seamless, generous and forward, a Paso wine with Ridge reserve.” —P.J.C.

2021 Evangelho | 91 points

“A blend of carignane, zinfandel and mataro planted in the 1890s on alluvial sand, this wine’s Bing cherry, olive and horehound flavors are surrounded by American-oak scents of cinnamon. The palate is attractively lean, its gutsy fresh fruit marked by a mild astringency that may need some time to tuck in.” —P.J.C.

2021 Rockpile | 91 points

“A cranberry-scented zin with burly petite-sirah tannins, this dense mountain-grown wine is sitting in its oak, the fruit surrounded by caramel and chocolate notes. Give it a year in the cellar to emerge from the oak.” —J.G.

2020 Lytton Estate Petite Sirah | 90 points

“The generations of petite sirah vines sharing the ground at Lytton were planted from 1901 up through 2008. They are stalwart vines making a stalwart wine, with a concentrated depth of flavor that does not budge from its tannic cave. For now, those tannins dry all the moisture out of the mouth, though they can’t completely hide the richness of the wine. Good petite usually takes a decade or two to show its best. This one demands it.” —J.G.

2021 Blasi Zinfandel | 90 points

“From 120-year-old vines farmed by Greg Blasi for more than a third of that time, this is a warm, superripe zin, grapey and austere, the flavors edging toward prune. There are layers underneath, needing a few years to show themselves more directly.” —J.G.

2021 Ponzo Zinfandel | 90 points

“Wildflower-honey scents show off this wine’s sweet flavors—the red juice of a plum brightened by the tartness of cranberry-like acidity. A lively, floral red, this lasts on violets and grape-skin tannins.” —J.G.


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