70% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 15% Carignane, 3% Grenache, 2% Mataro
Dry Creek, Alexander, and Russian River Valleys
Despite the welcome wet spring, rainfall in our Sonoma County vineyards remained below average. Flowering occurred in late May, during ideal weather; we thinned the crop to assure intense color and flavor. A mild summer ripened the grapes for a mid-September harvest. Picked by taste, each parcel fermented separately on its natural yeasts. For full extraction of color and tannin, the fermentors were pumped over for seven days, on average, before pressing. Malolactic fermentation finished by November, allowing early assemblage. Once in barrel, the wine was racked off the sediment every two months to clarify naturally. After ten months, tannins have softened. Fresh berry fruit and barrel spice give the Three Valleys immediate appeal, and it will be most enjoyable over the next three to five years. EB (7/10)
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 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-four inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: A dry winter saved by spring rains and a mild summer
Harvest Dates: 8 September – 13 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4
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 (38% new and one year old, 20% two years old, and 42% three to six years old).
Time in Barrel: Eleven months
San Francisco Chronicle (4 December 2011) – Top Vintners Not At Top Dollar – Addendum to Top 100 Wines of 2011.
Average Rating: 88.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 179
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