After a mild, dry winter, these old vines bloomed early, setting a crop of two tons per acre. A warm summer ripened the fruit on schedule, and harvest began in late August. The five vineyard parcels were picked as full flavor developed, and crushed to separate small tanks; a grid submerged the cap of skins for gentle extraction. When natural primary fermentation began, one parcel stood out immediately for the intensity typical of Dusi Ranch. Natural secondary finished quickly, and the wine was racked to barrel; the concentrated fruit supported a higher percentage of new oak than usual. Spring tastings showed resolved tannins, opulence, and focus; we decided to bottle in August. Full body and sweet, ripe fruit make this Dusi immediately appealing. It will be at its best over the next six years.
The zinfandel on this Paso Robles ranch was planted in 1923. It was purchased soon after by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi, who raised three sons there—Guido, Dante, and Benito. When Guido and Dante went to war in 1944, vineyard cultivation was left to Sylvester and young Benito—eleven years old at the time. Beni, as his many friends call him, maintained the vines from then on. Ridge’s long relationship with Beni and the Dusi vineyard began when Dave Bennion— scouting the area in 1967—knocked on the Dusis’ door and asked to buy five tons of grapes.
Rainfall: 10 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: Warm spring, dry, hot summer and fall
Harvest dates: 5 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.8°
Fermentation: 100% submerged cap fermentation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at seven days.
Aging: Air-dried american oak, 16% new, 21% two years old, and 63% three to five years old.
Time in barrel: Nine months
Average Rating: 89.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 48
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