88% Zinfandel, 7% Mataro, 3% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet
An unusually long, mild spring allowed a full set on the century-old Pagani zinfandel vines, increasing yields by twenty percent to a still modest three tons per acre. We harvested all the grapes—fully ripe but with unusually firm acidity—by October 2, roughly two weeks earlier than usual. A spring frost reduced by half the mataro usually included in the vineyard blend. (The small percentages of petite sirah and alicante are interplanted with the zinfandel.) This wine is sensuous and balanced; its intense fruit and lovely spice will show to best advantage over the next five years.
Since 1991, Ridge has made zinfandel from the old Pagani vineyard on the east-facing side of Sonoma Valley. The oldest vines were planted more than one hundred years ago, the youngest about eighty. The vineyard is mostly zinfandel, with some interplanted petite sirah, and several small blocks of alicante. Pagani Ranch is a fine example of what we look for in a zinfandel vineyard: low-yielding old vines, carefully tended by a quality conscious family who, in this case, have worked the land for four generations. The fact that this vineyard has survived so long is proof of its merit. An average site would have been abandoned during the thirteen years of Prohibition, or during the Depression. Louis Pagani, who passed away last winter at age 97, cared for these vines as if they were his children. Their quality is an impressive legacy. Pagani is situated in a cool microclimate within Sonoma Valley. While this contributes positively to the unique flavors and aromas of the final wine, it also moves back the growing season. As a consequence, this is usually the last zinfandel vineyard we harvest. All the others are picked in September or early October.
Average Rating: 90.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 22
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