San Louis Obispo County
Dark ruby, Sweet ripe cherries and red raspberry (typical Paso Robles “red fruits”), plums, black pepper spice, wild thyme, vanilla; hint of clove. Soft, full, rich red fruits; a long-lasting, sweet finish.
Lovely balance in the mouth. Hints of vanilla and oak add depth to the intense, ripe fruit. Tannins are soft and round; lovely to drink now.
The crop was reduced slightly by late spring rains that provided ground water for the growing season. Moderately warm summer days ripened the vineyard evenly; although harvest did not begin until September twenty-fifth, it was finished within a week. The wine was held briefly in new American oak, then racked to three and four-year-old barrels for twelve months of further aging. Well-balanced, and showing the spicy fruit typical of the vineyard, this lovely wine is enjoyable now. It will be at its best over the next six to seven years.
Ridge first made zinfandel from the old vines on the Dusi family vineyard in Paso Robles in 1967, but not until 1976 did we begin to make a Paso Robles each year. It is our only vineyard south of
the San Francisco Bay area. We had planned to make tough, long-lasting wines from these old vines, trying for as much tannin and backbone as possible. But as we watched the earlier vintages develop in bottle, it became clear that Paso Robles would dictate its own style. Typically, the wines are round and accessible within six months to a year of bottling, and age well over the next five to six years.
Late springtime rains arrived just as the grape clusters finished set, somewhat reducing the size of the crop, and setting the stage for a long growing season. Beautifully warm summer days and nights, tempered with maritime winds in the afternoon, ripened the grapes evenly for a harvest that began September 25 and was completed within a week.
As is typical with Paso Robles fruit, we fermented a third of the grapes submerged below the liquid, for gentle extraction. Fermentations were carried out using natural yeasts present on the
grapes. After secondary (malolactic) fermentation, the wine was transferred to new american oak barrels, where it was held for a month. It was then racked to three- and four-year-old barrels for
long-term aging. Balanced and quite lovely, the wine integrates peppery spice, oak, and the ripe cherry fruit typical of the vineyard. Soft and lush in the mid-palate, this elegant wine will develop fully within five years of bottling.
Average Rating: 89.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 5
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