San Louis Obispo County
Color – Garnet. Nose – Generous high-toned raspberry and red cherry fruits, violet-floral, candied plums, creamy oak, sweet appeal. Palate – Sweet and creamy cherry fruit, gentle tannins, medium body, gravelly earth, an approachable wine with long finish.
The eighty-year-old vines on Benito Dusi’s ranch set a full crop, with yields equaling those of 2005. Above-average summer temperatures quickly advanced the growing season, but cooling ocean breezes slowed the process, and we harvested two weeks later than usual. Natural yeasts carried out primary fermentation in small tanks, which were pumped over twice daily. An uninoculated malolactic fermentation finished rapidly, allowing us to assemble the selected parcels in November. The blend was racked to air-dried american oak barrels — a quarter new, a very few one to two years old, and the balance four years old. Careful racking off the sediment brought brilliant clarity by the ninth month. This vineyard’s forward fruit and soft tannins have often dictated early bottling. In this vintage, however, our blind tastings confirmed the need for a full thirteen months of barrel age. Rich fruit and the spice of barrel aging are beautifully balanced in this accessible zinfandel. It will be at its best over the next five years. EB (11/07)
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: Twenty-four inches (above average)
Weather: Wet spring; warm, dry summer and fall.
Harvest Dates: 9 September – 2 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.9
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary (63% submerged cap), maceration nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (24% new, 14% one and two years old, 62% four years old)
Aging: Thirteen months in barrel
International Wine Cellar (November-December 2008, Issue 141): “Ruby-red color. Expressive cherry-vanilla and dark berry preserve aromas are complicated by dark chocolate and dried flowers. Spicy dark berry and plum preserve flavors coat the palate and pick up an exotic apricot pit quality with aeration. Fleshy and smooth, with very good finishing sweetness and length. This is very seductive right now.” Rated: 90
California Grapevine (Vol. 34, No. 4, August-September 2008): “Medium-dark ruby; attractive, forward, intense, spicy, peppery, blackberry fruit aroma; full body; forward, rich, slightly creamy, briary, ripe blackberry fruit flavors; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very appealing to drink now and tending to be somewhat claret-like in style. Very highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 16.0 of 20 points, 0/1/1; My Score: 17 [90/100], second place)
Connoisseurs’ Guide (May 2008): “Ridge gets Paso Robles Zinfandel right with this wonderfully well-made wine that scores both in terms of its fruity focus and its fine balance. It hints at late-harvest ripeness without ever going over the line, and it is demonstrates a mannerly hand vis-a-vis tannin and heat. Its careful winemaking shows from beginning to end and, while tasty right now, the wine has the structure and depth to age nicely for a half-dozen years.” Rated: 91 (**)
Average Rating: 89.0
No. of Tasting Notes: 71
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