92% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah
Dry Creek Valley
Blackberry jam, chutney, exotic spice, toasty oak. Sweet briar fruit entry. Full-bodied, structured, with fruit-coated tannins. Powerful, lengthy finish. Classic Dry Creek Valley zinfandel.
This is our second vintage from a young zinfandel vineyard planted atop the eastern bench of Dry Creek Valley. Despite a larger-than-average crop, warm summer weather fully ripened all the grapes. We began picking the stressed vines in Blocks 6 and 7 on August 29, and continued picking for a straight week to get in all the grapes before they overripened. Each of the vineyard’s seven parcels fermented separately on natural yeasts. After malolactic, the most intense wines were selected and blended to make the 2007 East Bench. In December, the wine was racked to air-dried american oak barrels (25% one and two years old, the rest three and four years old). In July, to complement the opulent fruit, we added a small amount of petite sirah from an adjacent parcel. After twelve months of barrel age, the wine has integrated beautifully. Enjoyable now, it will continue to develop over the next five to seven years. JO (8/08)
This is our second wine entirely from vines on the benchland that separates Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. The soils are identical across the bench as are the climatic conditions giving the vines the chance to demonstrate character consistent in the wines as they mature fully. The original vines were abandoned in 1920. More of these vineyard blocks have been replanted each year over the last thirty years. This wine is from vines replanted in 2000, using budwood from our own old-vine vineyards.
Rainfall: Thirty-five inches (below average)
Weather: Dry spring with a typically warm, dry summer, and no sustained heat spells.
Harvest Dates: 29 August – 6 September
Grapes: Average Brix 27.5
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at ten days. Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (25% new, 50% one to three, 25% four to five years old)
Time in Barrel: Twelve months
Wine Advocate (Issue 187, 27 Feb 2010): “This was my first look at a new offering from Ridge, the 2007 Zinfandel East Bench. From a young Dry Creek Valley vineyard, it is a blend of 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah (15.4% alcohol). Its big, open-knit bouquet of briery black raspberries and black cherries is followed by a fleshy, medium to full-bodied wine revealing good freshness as well as a savory, up-front style. I would opt for drinking this offering over the next 4-5 years.” -Robert Parker (Rated: 90+)
California Grapevine (Vol. 35, No. 3, June-July 2009): “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, earthy, briary, cherry and blueberry fruit aroma with notes of licorice, dill, and green peppercorn; full body; forward, rich, textured, plummy, cedary, blackberry fruit flavors; firmly structured and slighly hard on the finish; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 16.0 of 20 points, 3/0/1; My Score: 17 [90/100], fifth place)
Quarterly Review of Wines (Summer 2009): 5-Star California Zinfandels – “Sweet, nutty, spicy, ripe, elegant, well-focused, wild-berry flavors.” (Rated: *****)
Connoisseurs’ Guide (May 2009): “Here is marvelous proof that high ripeness and fine balance need not be mutually exclusive, for while the wine checks in at 15.4% alcohol, it is as deep in defined fruit and as carefully structured as any Zinfandel in this month’s survey. It is simply brimming with berries from the first, and, while fully ripe, it is not in the least bit overdone. It is laced with briary spice and complementary oak, and its long, tannin-firmed finish is as well-focused on outgoing fruit as its intense, deep and handsomely crafted aromas. As impressive as it may be at the moment, it will only get better with time, and the best prescription is for a few years of patience.” Rated: 92 (**)
Average Rating: 89.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 81
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