76% Zinfandel, 13% Carignane, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Mataro (Mourvèdre)
Dry Creek, Alexander, and Russian River Valleys
Rich, concentrated blackberry, dusty briar, sweet leather, cocoa, flint, exotic spice. Full bodied, viscous, balanced. Chalky tannins, lingering flavors. An elegant, complete wine. (Grapes from Russian River Valley provide the blackberry fruit and bright acid; Alexander Valley fruit adds exotic notes, finesse. Dry Creek is the source of the wine’s depth, earthiness, and structure.)
Three Valleys is a Ridge proprietary name, referring to three of Sonoma County’s finest appellations. Roughly half the grapes in this bottling came from six vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, one-third from six vineyards in Alexander Valley, and the balance from two vineyards in the Russian River Valley; included are grapes from recent plantings on our Lytton Springs and Geyserville vineyards. The wines fermented on their natural yeasts, were pressed at eight days, and completed a natural (uninoculated) malolactic fermentation five weeks later. Aged in air-dried american oak barrels (twenty percent new, the rest two to six years old), this full, well-balanced zinfandel is enjoyable now. Its rich fruit will show to best advantage over the next four or five years. (PD 1/03)
The history of Ridge’s Sonoma County Three Valleys began with last year’s release of the 2001. The wine contains grapes from a number of Sonoma vineyards-” this year, fourteen. We take great care in selecting the fruit, which is hand-harvested, then crushed and fermented at Monte Bello and Lytton Springs. Unlike our single-vineyard wines, which reflect the distinctive character of each site, Three Valleys represents the blending of vineyards-” winemaking at its finest. Zinfandel fruit determines the wine’s varietal character; old-vine carignane contributes its own bright fruit and acidity; petite sirah adds peppery spice, depth of color, and firm tannins. Mataro imparts a round, soft texture, and further complexity.
Rainfall: Approximately 40″ (normal). Most in mid-winter, again in April and May
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Warm summer and fall. Cool nights.
Harvest Dates: 4 September – 30 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.7; average pH at crush 3.50.
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Grapes fully crushed and fermented in small stainless steel tanks; fermenting juice circulated over cap twice daily for extraction of color, tannin, and flavor. Full malolactic to soften acidity. Pressed at eight days on average.
Barrel: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (16% new, 34% two and three years old, 50% four to six years old).
Aging: Sixteen months in barrel
Wine Advocate (28 Feb 2005): “With respect to Ridge’s Zinfandel program, Paul Draper, who deserves much of the credit for making Zinfandel famous, continues to turn out a bevy of delicious Zinfandels in addition to numerous multi-varietal blends. More seductive and hedonistic is the soft, fleshy, medium-bodied, dark plum/ruby-colored 2002 Three Valleys. This blend of 76% Zinfandel, 13% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah, and 3% Mourvèdre is on a fast evolutionary track, revealing loads of fruit as well as a silky texture. It is a delicious red to gulp down at your favorite bistro.” Rated: 89
Wine & Spirits (Oct 2004): “Tannins and acidity bar any fruit expression in this wine when first poured, though with air the blackness gives way to light blueberry in a tense fist of fruit. The tough structure and schisty tannins need time to relent; if you open this in the next year or two, decant it an hour before serving.” Rated: 89
Average Rating: 88.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 46
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