82% Zinfandel, 16% Alicante Bouschet, 2% Petite Sirah
Saturated garnet; ripe plum and red cherry fruits, compote, exotic spice; Intense berry fruit on entry, sensuous, layered, round tannins, sweet core fruit, juicy acid, long finish.
The growing season began with heavy winter rains saturating the soil. A cool, foggy summer slowed ripening, and two days of intense heat in late August reduced yields dramatically. Eight small parcels (nineteen acres planted between 1896 and 1922) were picked on October 5, and crushed into four open-top tanks. Natural-yeast primary fermentation began within two days, and finished in eight. All four lots were of superb quality; the excellent press wine was added for its color and tannins. Uninoculated malolactic finish- ed three weeks after pressing — most unusual for this high-acid wine. Its richness is complemented by additional time in oak. Enjoyable now, this complex zinfandel will continue to develop over the next ten to twelve years. EB (1/12)
Since 1991, Ridge has made zinfandel from the old Pagani vineyard on the east-facing side of Sonoma Valley. Almost all the vines here were planted more than a hundred years ago. Pagani Ranch is a fine example of what we look for in a vineyard: low-yielding old vines, carefully tended by a quality-conscious family who, in this case, have worked the land for four generations. The vineyard’s long survival is proof of its merit. An average site would have been abandoned during the thirteen years of Prohibition, or during the Depression.
Rainfall: 42 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Cool, late spring, cold summer, two very hot days in August (24 & 25th).
Harvest Dates: 5 October
Grapes: Average Brix 25.1
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 10% one year, 75% two and three years old.)
Aging: Sixteen months
Pagani Vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. 1.1 grams/liter calcium carbonate added during fermentation to moderate excessive natural acidity. Minimum effective sulfur added (30 ppm at crush, 130 ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Wine Spectator (30 June 2013): “There’s no better track record for Zinfandel than that of Ridge, which has made Zin for nearly 50 years. Under Paul Draper, the winemaking team works with some of the best and oldest vineyards in California and strives hard to retain a sense of place in its Zins, which often have a distinctive earthy edge.” -Tim Fish (Rated: 90)
Average Rating: 91.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 69
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