90% Zinfandel, 9% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Mataró (Mourvèdre)
Deep garnet color; ripe stone fruit aroma, with tart strawberry and oak spice; medium full entry, sweet-tart cherry fruit, multi-layered, mineral, earthy, coated tannins, firm acid, moderately long finish.
Sonoma Valley’s cool climate can be challenging for ripening zinfandel, and 2012 turned un-seasonably cool in summer and early fall, delaying harvest. Each of the eight parcels fermented separately. After pressing, and completion of an uninoculated malolactic, the lots were blind-tasted; five were selected for this wine. Aged in american oak, it clarified by settling. Its full — but moderate — ripeness and firm acid show sensational fruit and elegant structure. Approachable now, it will be most enjoyable over the next five to seven years. EB (12/13)
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: 24 inches (below average)
Weather: Warm spring and long, mild summer.
Harvest Dates: 10-12 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.1
Fermentation: Full crush, floating cap. Pressed at eight days
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (25% new, 57% three years old, 18% four years old)
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel
Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; calcium carbonate; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective SO2
Hand harvested Pagani Ranch grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.36 grams/liter calcium carbonate added to 7 of 8 fermentors during fermentation to moderate excessive natural acidity; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (28 ppm at crush, 119 ppm over the course of aging); oak from barrel aging; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
California Grapevine (Vol. 40, November 2014): “Medium-dark to dark purplish ruby; attractive, forward, deep, intense, briary, black cherry and blackberry fruit aroma with hints of dried herbs and green olive; full body; rich, briary, cedary, spicy, red and black fruit flavors with bright acidity and a tight grip on the finish; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Will benefit with a few more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 16.2 of 20 points, 0/3/1; My Score: 17 (92/100), second place)
Vinous Media (July 2014): “The 2012 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch wraps around the palate with silky, perfumed fruit and tons of varietal character. The late harvest in this cool, Sonoma Valley site yielded a ripe, intensely aromatic Zinfandel with notable persistence and sweet, suave tannins. As opposed to many other Ridge’s other Sonoma wines, Pagani Ranch is predominantly Zinfandel, and that is exactly what comes through.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 91+)
Connoisseurs’ Guide (January 2015): “Deeply fruited and juicy right from the first with a strong blackberry bias and a nice dollop of sympathetic oak running its length, the Pagani Ranch bottling is a bit riper in tone than its Lytton Springs partner, but it is no less neatly balanced and shows a very professional winemaking hand. We like its generosity and its rich, easy-to-access fruit, but for all of its open appeals, it is so well put together that it will only get better and better with age.” Rated: 91 (**)
Average Rating: 90.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 120
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