San Louis Obispo County
In this year of El Niño, the vineyard suffered no damage, but rains pushed back the growing season by a full month. We have always picked these old vines in early September. In 1998, for the first time in our twenty-five year history with the Dusi family vineyard, we harvested in October. In keeping with our good fortune throughout the decade, the weather held, and the fruit ripened beautifully, though yields were down. Fermented on its own yeast, and aged in one-year-old air-dried american oak barrels, this is a ripe, well-structured wine. Appealing at the time of release, its lovely fruit will show to best advantage over the next five years. PD (11/99)
Since 1962, Ridge has championed single-vineyard winemaking, searching for great vineyards where climate, soil, and varietal are ideally matched. Using traditional methods and minimal handling, we strive to produce wines that reflect their site.
This vintage is the twenty-fourth in which Ridge has made wine from the old zinfandel vines on Benito Dusi’s ranch in Paso Robles. It is the only Ridge wine from the Central Coast regional appellation, of which the Santa Cruz Mountains are not a part. We had planned to make tough, long-lasting wines from these old vines, trying for as much tannin and structure 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. Unlike 1997, which began early, unseasonably cool El Niño weather delayed the start of the ’98 growing season by a month. As a result, fruit set and subsequent yields were down. Warm summer temperatures returned by July, but early August was so hot that the stressed vines were, in effect, temporarily dormant. Fortunately, September’s more moderate weather allowed them to recover; the grapes ripened fully. Harvest, for the first time in our long relationship with the Dusi vineyard, began in October, almost four weeks later than normal.
Average Rating: 86.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 4
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