95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah
San Louis Obispo County
Garnet/medium ruby. Intense sun-dried cherry; sweet, defined tropical guava, old-vine pepper spice. Approachable, fruit-forward style. Viscous, smooth-body, coated tannins. Long finish with bursts of juicy stone fruits. -Eric Baugher (2/11)
For a third year, dry conditions persisted in Paso Robles. Fortunately, a few late-spring storms tracked south, delivering just enough rain for the vines to make it through the season. High temperatures in July and August brought ripeness over the first three weeks of September. During primary fermentation, submerged-cap grids kept skins in contact with juice; an uninoculated malolactic finished in five weeks. The wines, with their yeast lees, were then transferred to barrel, where fermentation continued. We assembled the most intense, full-bodied lots, adding a small amount of petite sirah for structure. The fruit’s slight sweetness is balanced by firm acid, its freshness accentuated by early bottling. Delightfully approachable, this wine will be most enjoyable over the next five years. EB (7/10)
The Benito Dusi Ranch is the only vineyard in the Central Coast Viticultural Area from which we source grapes. The 1967 vintage was our first wine from this vineyard. It is planted entirely to zinfandel, unusual in a vineyard more than eighty years old. Purchased by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi in 1924, the property has been farmed since the 1940s by their son Benito, the owner.
Rainfall: Nine inches (below average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Cool dry spring and summer, with late heat that helped ripen an above-average crop.
Harvest Dates: 4 – 22 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.1
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation. 100% submerged cap; Pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (18% new, 43% one and two years old, 39% three and four years old).
Aging: Nine months in barrel
Wine Enthusiast (September 2011) – “Leave it to Ridge to make one of the best Zinfandels to come out of Paso Robles. Although the wine shows Paso’s lush, ripe flavors and softness and is sweet in raspberry jam and chocolate, it maintains structural integrity. Drink it now with great barbecue.” -Steve Heimoff (Rated: 91)
Wine Spectator (31 August 2011): “A classic California style, jammy yet balanced with crisp acidity, at once sleek and appealingly rustic, offering layers of distinctive flavors, including cherry, stewed plum, white pepper and smoky sage and anise. Drink now through 2016.” -Tim Fish (Rated: 91)
California Grapevine (Vol. 37, No. 3, June-July 2011): “Medium to medium-dark ruby color; attractive, forward, spicy, briary, cherry and dark berry fruit aroma with notes of toasty American oak; medium-full body; forward, rich, plummy, ripe dark berry fruit flavors with good depth and a creamy mouthfeel; well balanced; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Shows distinctive varietal character and is very enjoyable to drink now. Very highly recommended.” (Group Score: 16.4, 3/0/0; My Score: 17 [92/100], first place)
DailyGrape.com (April 2011 newsletter) – “Huge coffee, espresso bean, and orange peel aromas coming through on the nose. On the palate, I get old school red Twizzler and plummy Zinfandel-like flavors. The strawberry fruit meets floral aspect is really enjoyable. This reminds me of classic Zin from the early 90’s, before so many winemakers got out of hand with their use of oak. I like it, if not a hair thin for most. Look for it to last 3-5 years, and pair it with pulled pork sandwiches for a tremendous experience.” -Gary Vaynerchuk (Score: 89 points)
Average Rating: 88.0
No. of Tasting Notes: 77
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