96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah
A mild winter, followed by a warm spring, brought an early start to the growing season. Unseasonably cool summer weather slowed progress, but the grapes ripened by late August—two weeks ahead of schedule. The vineyard parcels were crushed to three separate tanks for natural-yeast fermentation. We pressed at the sixth day, on average, and assembled the wine before it completed an uninoculated secondary, which finished the following February. Aged for twelve months in air-dried american oak barrels (a quarter new, a quarter one year old, the rest five years old), the wine clarified naturally through settling and quarterly racking. This full-flavored, elegant zinfandel was picked at moderate ripeness; approachable now, it will be at its best over the next four to five years.
Originally a part of the Rancho Sotoyome Spanish land grant, these one hundred acres were purchased in the mid-1800s by Archibald Carmichael. Ridge began farming the western half of the ranch in 2000. The soils differ considerably between the upper and lower blocks. The Carmichael comes from just east of the right-of-way of the old Northwestern Pacific railroad. This is our fourth release from the ranch.
Rainfall: 35 inches (below average)
Weather: Dry spring and warm, dry summer with no sustained heat spells
Harvest Date: 26 August – 9 September
Grapes: Average brix 24.3˚
Fermentation: A six day natural fermentation was carried out in small fermentors and pressed early; natural secondary fermentation started in tanks and finished in barrel by February 2009.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak (25 % new, 30% one year, and 45% five years old)
Aging: Fifteen months in barrel
Average Rating: 89.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 56
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