76% Zinfandel, 16% Alicante Bouschet, 4% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, 2% Mataro
An early start to the 2004 growing season caused most of our Sonoma County zinfandel to ripen weeks ahead of schedule. Pagani Ranch, in the cool Sonoma Valley, was the exception; these hundred-year old vines are intentionally pruned late to delay budbreak and avoid spring frosts. A burst of heat in mid-September ripened most of the Pagani fruit, but we waited until mid-October for full flavor in the rest. The eight small lots fermented to dryness on their natural yeasts in seven days; following a natural malolactic, they were racked to barrel. In spring, we selected the five most intense for this spicy, vibrant table wine. Aged for seventeen months in air-dried american oak barrels, this fine, well-structured vintage will soften further with a year or two in bottle, and develop fully over the next six years. EB/PD (2/06)
Since 1991, Ridge has made zinfandel from the old Pagani vineyard on the east-facing side of Sonoma Valley. Almost all the vines here were planted more than a hundred years ago. Pagani Ranch is a fine example of what we look for in a vineyard: low-yielding old vines, carefully tended by a quality-conscious family who, in this case, have worked the land for four generations. The vineyard’s long survival is proof of its merit. An average site would have been abandoned during the thirteen years of Prohibition, or during the Depression.
Rainfall: Forty inches (below normal)
Bloom: Early May (1-2 weeks early)
Weather: Dry winter and warm spring, moderate summer.
Harvest Dates: 18 September – 16 October
Grapes: Average brix 24
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at seven days
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (25% new, 25% two years and 50% five years old)
Aging: Seventeen months
Connoisseurs’ Guide (January 2007): “This wine often reaches exaggerated levels of ripeness and dried grape concentration, but, in the current vintage, it has displays admirable depth and far-ranging fruit without resort to excess. To be sure, it is wholly concentrated and shows an emphasis on blackberry fruit but in no way does it approach the 2003 which, despite earning 90 points, was described as “out in front of the pack when it comes to sheer volume and unbridled ripeness”. Indeed, there is even a touch of latter palate restraint and tightness to be found in this rendition. This is stunning stuff built along the lines of table wine Zinfandel. Bravo.” Rated: 95 (***)
Average Rating: 89.7
No. of Tasting Notes: 46
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