San Louis Obispo County
Color: Medium ruby. Nose: Bright, straightforward cherry fruit, hints of guava. Some pepper, dusty earth. Palate: Intense cherry fruit balanced by firm acidity. Sweet oak, hints of clove. Integrated tannins. A harmonious, elegant wine.
Ridge first made zinfandel from Paso Robles’s Dusi Ranch in 1967; it is our only Central Coast vineyard. In the area’s warm climate, rich fruit flavors usually develop well ahead of structural tannins. This year, we fermented the fully-crushed fruit with a floating cap of skins, increasing juice circulation to maximize tannin extraction. In late spring we assembled the wine: more than eighty percent comes from the north and south blocks, the balance from the back of the ranch. Thirteen months in air-dried american oak contributes spice, while firm acidity adds definition to the ripe fruit. Approachable now, this sensuous wine will be at its best over the next four years. EB/PD (9/04)
Dusi Ranch is the only Ridge vineyard south of the San Francisco Bay area. It is planted entirely to zinfandel, unusual in a vineyard more than eighty years old. Purchased by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi in 1924, the property has been farmed for many years by their son Benito, the present owner.
Rainfall: 9 to 10 inches for the year (below normal)
Bloom: May (normal)
Weather: Cool spring, warm summer.
Harvest Dates: 17-23 September
Grapes: Average brix 26.0°; average pH at crush 3.47.
Fermentation: Fully crushed to open-top tanks. Floating (rather than usual submerged) cap. Natural primary and secondary. Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (3% new, 72% two years old, 25% three years old)
Aging: Thirteen months in barrel
Connoisseurs’ Guide (Jan 2006): “Perhaps the friendliest and most accessible of the Ridge family, and unquestionably one of the out-and-out richest, the latest Dusi Ranch bottling is positively oozing with raspberries, vanilla, milk chocolate and sweet plums. It is plump on the palate and built in a softer, less-tannic style, and, where its kin from Lytton Springs and Geyserville will grow into greater things, this one is meant for enjoying right now.” Rated: 91 (**)
Wine Spectator (31 Aug 2005): “Effusively fruity, offering ripe, supple wild berry, raspberry and stewed plum flavors that are complex, balanced and harmonious, and a nice show of creamy coconut-tinged oak. Drink now through 2008. Tasted twice, with consistent notes” Rated: 90 -James Laube
Quarterly Review of Wines (Summer 2005): Best of Show of 87 zinfandels tasted blind (the 2002 Lytton Springs received five stars). “Lovely, rich, ripe, pure, succulent, deliciously lipsmacking, blueberry pie and mocha flavors.”
Average Rating: 88.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 26
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