74% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, 4% Mataro, 3% Syrah, 3% Grenache
Dry Creek, Alexander, and Russian River Valleys
Medium garnet. Fresh raspberry, cherry. Scorched clay/earth minerals, white pepper. Ripe briary fruit entry, elegant tannins, integrated oak spice, great length. EB (3/10)
A second year of below-average rainfall made for a challenging growing season. A small crop was set in March, and ripened in time for a September harvest. The dry conditions resulted in smaller-than-normal berry size, which accentuated flavor. Natural yeasts carried out primary fermentation, and eight days of skin contact extracted elegant structure. Uninoculated secondary fermentation was complete in record time, allowing early assemblage. We chose the most accessible lots from six vineyards for this wine. Once blended and racked to barrel, clarity was achieved by racking off the sediment every two months. Integrated oak and appealing ripe fruit make this Three Valleys enjoyable now: it will be at its best over the next five years. JO/EB (8/09)
The history of the Ridge Sonoma County Three Valleys began with the release of the 2001. The wine contains grapes from a number of Sonoma vineyards this year, seven. We take great care in selecting the fruit, which is hand-harvested, then crushed and fermented at both Monte Bello and Lytton Springs. Unlike our single vineyard wines, which reflect the distinctive character of each site, Three Valleys represents the blending of vineyards and winemaking at its finest. Zinfandel fruit determines the wine’s varietal character; old-vine carignane contributes its own bright fruit and acidity; petite sirah and syrah add peppery spice, depth of color, and firm tannins; grenache brings briar fruit and lively tannins.
Rainfall: Thirty inches (below normal).
Bloom: Budbreak and bloom were a bit early (March & May)
Weather: Dry spring and typical warm, dry summer, with no sustained heat spells
Harvest Dates: 26 August – 13 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.8
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Grapes fully crushed and fermented in small stainless steel tanks; fermenting juice circulated over the cap twice daily for extraction of color, tannin, and flavor. Full, natural malolactic to soften acidity. Pressed at eight days on average.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (33% new and one year old, 20% two years old, and 47% five to six years old).
Time in Barrel: Nine months
Connoisseurs’ Guide (Vol. 34, Issue 7, May 2010): “Hitting all the classic varietal field-blend bases, but still convincingly defined as Zinfandel, this temperate, well-balanced bottling pulls back from the brink of high-ripeness and aims for a structured, claret-like style. Its precise, berry-like fruit comes with no chocolaty extras but hints of briar and tea-leaf do show here and there. First and foremost, it is a wine that is made to accompany food.” Rated: 88 (*)
California Grapevine California Grapevine (Vol. 36, No. 2, April-May 2010): “Medium-dark ruby; attractive, herbal, briary, raspberry jam aroma with notes of cedar and vanilla; full body; cedary, cranberry and raspberry fruit flavors with a tight and somewhat hard finish; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended.” (Group Score: 15.6 of 20 points, 1/1/0; My Score: 16.5 [88/100], seventh place)
Average Rating: 88.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 105
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