Dry Creek Valley
Ruby red in color, spicey raspberry nose with notes of vanilla and clove. Black cherry, plum and mint on the palate with elegant tannins and an accent of lavender on the finish.
Despite a second year of low rainfall, this ridge-top vineyard set a heavy crop. Fortunately, a hot summer ensured a ripe, albeit delayed, harvest; we picked from September 25 to October 1. Following fermentation, five of the seven blocks were selected and combined. For definition and added spice, we increased the amount of new and one-year-old oak. After twelve months in barrel, the wine is elegant and redolent of red fruit. Enjoyable on release, it will develop fully over the next four to five years. JO (11/13)
Ridge has made the East Bench as a single-site zinfandel since 2006. One of our few single-variety wines, this zinfandel vineyard sits high on top of the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.
Rainfall: 24 inches (below average)
Weather: Warm spring and a long, warm summer.
Harvest Dates: 25 September – 1 October
Grapes: Average Brix 25.1
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary; twice daily pump-overs; pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 40% one and two years old, 40% three and four years old.)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel.
All estate-grown, hand harvested grapes. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.3 g/L tartaric acid; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 83 ppm during aging); oak from barrel aging; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions. Ingredients: Hand-harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; tartaric acid; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective SO2.
Wine Advocate (Issue 215, October 2014): “From Dry Creek Valley, the 100% Zinfandel 2012 Zinfandel East Bench boasts lots of spice box, briery mountain berry fruit, a lush, full-bodied mouthfeel, and lovely texture and length. With 14.9% natural alcohol, this big Zinfandel should be consumed over the next 3-4 years.” (Rated: 91)
Vinous Media (July 2014): “Deep, plush and inviting, the 2012 Zinfandel East Bench wraps around the palate with dark red and black fruit along with typical Dry Creek spice and underbrush notes. The tannins are a bit firm, again a Dry Creek characteristic, but there is more than enough juiciness in the fruit to round things out. Sweet floral and cinnamon notes add complexity on the resonant finish. This is a fabulous wine for the money.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 91)
California Grapevine (Vol. 40, June 2014): “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, intense, briary, black cherry and blackberry aroma with hints of mint and dill; full body; forward, extracted, briary, cedary, dark berry flavors; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 16.3 of 20 points, 1/2/2; My Score: 17 (91/100), second place)
Stephen Tanzer’s Winophilia/International Wine Cellar (21 April 2014): “From an outstanding vintage, the 2012 Zinfandel East Bench Dry Creek Valley displays powerful aromas of blackberry, cherry compote, vanilla and woodsmoke, with a spicy overtone that adds urgency. Fleshy, spicy and smooth, it shows very good clarity to its strong bitter cherry and dark berry flavors. Youthfully firm tannins give shape to the persistent finish, which features a subtle licorice note.” -Josh Raynolds (Rated: 91)
Connoisseurs’ Guide (September 2014): “Made entirely from Zinfandel and smelling every bit like it, the Ridge East Bench bottling juxtaposes ample, optimally ripened, blackberry fruit with intriguing touches of dusty, dry earth and sympathetic accents of sweet oak. If nominally tannic and ever so slightly astringent, it nonetheless shows a sense of professional polish and is a wine that speaks to potential. It deserves at least a few years of rest, and we feel safe in betting that it will grow for a half-dozen or more.” Rated: 90 (*)
Average Rating: 90.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 214
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