Rich, brambly cherry fruit, accented by the region’s characteristic pepper/spice. Elegant on the palate; lingering finish. Chalky tannins define the ripe fruit, and add depth.
Every year the Ridge harvest begins with this vineyard, but 2002 was atypical. Most of our vineyards to the north ripened from mid- to late September; fruit from the old Dusi vines did not reach full flavor until early October. This was doubly surprising, because clusters and berries at Dusi were unusually small, and crop size down—which normally leads to early ripening. In yet another departure from the norm, tannins extracted rapidly as the other zinfandels fermented, but slowly from the Dusi. During its natural-yeast fermentation, we pumped over twice daily for a week; an uninoculated malolactic was complete within three weeks of pressing. The wine was then racked to air-dried american oak barrels, of which twenty percent were new and one year old, the rest two and three years old. This spicy zinfandel shows ripe fruit, lively acidity, and integrated oak. Approachable now, it will develop fully over the next six to eight 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.
Rainfall: Fifteen inches for the year (average for Paso Robles)
Weather: Warm, with no periods of intense heat. (cooler than usual)
Harvest Dates: 28 September – 15 October
Grapes: Average brix 25.3°. Average pH in the wine, 3.64.
Fermentation: Several tanks: one submerged cap, others floating cap. Natural primary and secondary.
Aging: Air-dried american oak (20% new and one year old, 80% two and three years old).
Time in Barrel: Thirteen months
Average Rating: 89.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 22
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