In an attempt to make a small amount of Zinfandel Essence, we delayed harvesting part of the old Dusi vineyard. The grapes ripened very fully, but not enough for a natural dessert wine. By combining the intensely fruity, higher-acid wine of an earlier picking with this rich late harvest, we made one of our finest Dusi/Paso Robles zinfandels to date. It is enjoyable now, and will be at its best over the next six years.
The zinfandel on this Paso Robles ranch was planted in 1923. It was purchased soon after by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi, who raised three sons there—Guido, Dante, and Benito. When Guido and Dante went to war in 1944, vineyard cultivation was left to Sylvester and young Benito—eleven years old at the time. Beni, as his many friends call him, maintained the vines from then on. Ridge’s long relationship with Beni and the Dusi vineyard began when Dave Bennion— scouting the area in 1967—knocked on the Dusis’ door and asked to buy five tons of grapes.