92% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah
A second year of short rainfall and unfavorable weather during bloom produced the smallest crop since 2000. The clay loam soil dried out completely by May, requiring an unusual supplemental irrigation. Moderately warm summer weather allowed gradual ripening, and the six vineyard parcels were picked over two weeks in early September. Small berry size accelerated color and tannin extraction; pump-overs were reduced and tanks pressed early, holding tannins in balance. Natural malolactic fermentation finished by mid-October, allowing an early assemblage. We then racked to air-dried american oak barrels for aging. Intense fruit permitted the use of twenty-five percent new oak. In late spring, the wine was resolving well, so we bottled early to capture the opulent fruit. This sensuous zinfandel is enjoyable now, and will be at its best over the next six to seven 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 fifth release from the ranch.
Rainfall: 30 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Dry spring and warm, dry summer with no sustained heat spells
Harvest Date: 31 August – 15 September
Grapes: Average brix 26.2˚
Fermentation: A five day natural fermentation was carried out in small fermentors; pressed early; the natural secondary fermentation finished in mid-October.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak (15 % new, 57% two to three years, and 28% four years old)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Average Rating: 90.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 43
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