98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
Russian River Valley
Raspberry/guava/pepper nose. Rich red fruit, medium-to-full bodied. Integrated oak, mineral notes. Some stone-fruit flavors. Firm acid on the finish. EB (3/10)
Bob Ponzo’s vineyard lies just south of the town of Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley. Cool spring weather-” typical of this region-” delayed budbreak, but flowering and fruit set were complete by early June, and a warm summer ripened the grapes fully by early September. We harvested the Old Vine parcel (a traditional field blend of zinfandel and petite sirah) and the Triangle on September 5, and finished picking the Back Block September 18. The grapes all fermented on their natural yeasts for twelve days, on average. After natural malolactic, we racked the new wine to american oak barrels, fifteen percent of which were new. Rich and full-bodied, the 2008 Ponzo is nonetheless elegant-” a zinfandel to be enjoyed over the next five to seven years. JO (11/09)
Bob Ponzo has farmed these grapes for us in the Russian River Valley since 1999. Bob’s vineyard, on deep gravely loam soils four and a half miles south of Lytton Springs, provides all of the grapes for this zinfandel. The Russian River Valley’s cooler microclimate ripens this fruit shortly after Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest block.
Rainfall: Thirty inches (below normal)
Bloom: Early May (normal)
Weather: Dry spring with a warm dry summer, and no sustained heat spells.
Harvest Dates: 5 and 18 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.6
Fermentation: No inoculation-” natural primary and secondary; rapid color and tannin extraction. Pressed at twelve days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 35% one to two years old, 50% three and four years old)
Time in Barrel: Twelve months
Wine & Spirits (October 2010) – “Bob Ponzo’s vineyard at the northern edge of the Russian River Valley includes a block of zin and petite from 1952, the core of this wine. The vines are cooled by the fog incursion that drifts upriver, though not as much as the pinot noir vineyards deeper into the valley and closer to the sea. Fat black cherry and tart strawberry flavors balance this wine’s equally huge tannins, leaving a tail of red spice in the end. Leave it in a decanter for several hours while you marinate a butterflied leg of lamb.” Rated: 90
Connoisseurs’ Guide (Vol. 34, Issue 7, May 2010): “It is not at all uncommon to find an extra bit of acidity from Zins of this appellation, and, while that is the case here, so too does this wine exhibit ample ripeness and a heady measure of mildly peppery, concentrated, blackberry fruit. Very rich and a little pert at the same time, it fights successfully with a bit of last-minute tannin and heat and ends with a lengthy, well-fruited finish. A few years of patience are sure to make a good thing better, and we would not be surprised if this one continues to improve for a half decade and more.” Rated: 89 (*)
California Grapevine (Vol. 36, No. 2, April-May 2010): “Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive, intense, herbal, stemmy, briary, peppery, very ripe raspberry and boysenberry fruit aroma; full body; big, intense, highly extracted, briary, peppery, dark berry fruit flavors with good depth and a bit of tartness on the finish; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended.” (Group Score: 16.2 of 20 points, 1/2/3; My Score: 17 [90/100], second place)
Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal (16 April 2010): “You’d never mistake a young Ridge Zin for something Old World. This one was throwing off waves of crushed blackberry and blueberry. And while it finishes dry, there was a mouthful of sweet juicy fruit in the middle. My mom used to serve apple sauce or apple juice with pork chops, and it struck me that the Zin served a similar purpose here, providing a sweet counterpoint to the salty, earthy meat.” -Jay McInerney Read blog entry at WSJ.com
Average Rating: 89.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 53
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