2008 East Bench Zinfandel

2008 East Bench Zinfandel

Wine Information

100% Zinfandel




East Bench


Dry Creek Valley

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Blackberry/pepper/vanilla nose. Big, dark zinfandel with flavors of briary fruit, minerals, cocoa. Well-incorporated tannins, ample acidity, long finish. EB (3/10)

Vintage Notes

One of our few single-varietal vineyards, East Bench sits atop the ridge that separates Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. Its red clay/loam soils are ideal for growing zinfandel. In 2008, set was complete by late May; in July, after veraison, we dropped twenty percent of the crop to ensure optimum flavor and intensity. The grapes were hand-harvested between August 26 and September 2, and fermented on their native yeasts. Juice was pumped over the skins twice daily for nine days to achieve balanced tannin, color, and fruit. After natural malolactic, the parcels were combined and racked to air-dried american oak barrels to age for twelve months. The 2008 East Bench is quintessential Dry Creek Valley, exhibiting the red fruit, pepper spice, and mineral flavors that have made the region famous. Enjoyable now, the wine will develop fully over the next five to seven years. JO (11/09)


This is our third vintage 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 wines the chance to demonstrate consistent character as they mature. The original vineyards were abandoned around 1920, but the blocks have been gradually replanted over the last thirty years. This wine is from vines replanted in 2000, using budwood from our own old-vine vineyards. The East Bench zinfandel is classic Dry Creek-” rich and structured with brambly dark fruit and chalky yet balanced tannins.

Growing Season

Rainfall: Thirty inches (below average)

Bloom: Early May

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 Spectator (15 June 2011): “A classically styled Dry Creek Zinfandel, with briary cherry and spicy dill aromas and flavors that open with a burst of ripe raspberry but evolve into dry, crisp plum and licorice notes, with rustic tannins.” -Tim Fish (Rated: 91)

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (May-June 2011): “Saturated ruby. Powerful aromas of ripe red and dark fruits, musky herbs and flowers, with slow-building spiciness. Warm and expansive in the mouth, offering lush cherry and blackberry flavors and notes of vanilla and anise. Dusty tannins add gentle grip to the finish, but this zinfandel leads with its fruit, which absorbs any edges. This could be drunk now with pleasure.” -Josh Raynolds (90 points)

New York Times (12 October 2010): “Lively and pleasant, with pretty aromas of spices and berries.” -Eric Asimov
Read full article at NYTimes.com

Wine & Spirits (October 2010) – Best Buy – “Ridge may be known for old-vine zin but the future is with the young, like this vineyard the Ridge team planted between 2000 and ’01 using a massal selection from four pre-Prohibition vineyards. This zin grows on iron-rich clay loam and river rock, trained as bush vines, yielding a wine with bold intensity and a friendly sort of finesse. It’s bright, vinous and spicy, with zinny florals that seem to rise right out of the meaty tannins. Old vines rarely produce a wine with this sort of exuberance. Decant it for roast lamb.” Rated: 92

The Tasting Panel (October 2010): “Smooth and dense with blackberry and spice; racy and rich and showing good acidity and texture; long and juicy.” (Rated: 89)

California Grapevine (Vol. 36, No. 2, April-May 2010): “Medium-dark ruby; attractive, herbal, briary, plummy, red berry fruit aroma with hints of rhubarb and stewed tomatoes; full body; forward, big, rich, textured, plummy, spicy, ripe blueberry and raspberry fruit flavors with an initial supple mouthfeel though astringent on the finish; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended.” (Group Score: 15.9 of 20 points, 3/0/1; My Score: 16.5 [89/100], sixth place)

Wall Street Journal (16 April 2010): “This Dry Creek (Sonoma) vineyard is one of the newest acquisitions of the legendary Ridge Vineyards. (The first vintage was 2006.) Marked by distinct notes of cherry and spice, it’s still a bit youthful and the tannins are a bit tight but it opens nicely after some time in the glass. ” -Lettie Teague
Read review at WSJ.com

Wine Advocate (Issue 187, 27 Feb 2010): “The more powerful 2008 Zinfandel East Bench (100% Zinfandel; nearly 15% alcohol) boasts a dark plum/ruby color in addition to a big, sweet bouquet of briery fruit, earth, and pepper. Softer and fleshier than the 2007, it is meant for near-term consumption – 2-3 years.” -Robert Parker, Rated: (90-92)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 89.7

No. of Tasting Notes: 128

View this wine on CellarTracker

Food Pairings

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