83% Zinfandel, 16% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Petite Sirah
Deep garnet color. Aromas of dried fig, oak spice, and clay minerals. Opulent and full bodied with flavors of rich fruit and exotic spices. Moderate acid and a lingering finish.
An unusually warm growing season, short on winter rain, worked well at Pagani Ranch. Harvest began October 10, finishing in two days. Fermentations were slow, which meant pressing before dryness to avoid extracting excessive tannins. While in barrel, the wines were tasted frequently to follow their progress as they fermented dry through spring and summer. This deep-colored, fruit-forward zinfandel is approachable now. Richness, balanced by firm acidity, assures its development over the next ten to fifteen years. EB (2/15)
Since 1991, Ridge has made zinfandel from the old Pagani vineyard on the east-facing side of Sonoma Valley. All the vines were planted ninety to one hundred fifteen 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: 24.5 – 30 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early to Mid-May
Weather: Warm spring and early summer followed by cooler weather that slowed ripening.
Harvest Dates: 10 – 12 October
Grapes: Average Brix 26.5 degrees
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap and pressed at eight days
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (10% new, 48% one to two years, 42% four years old).
Aging: Fifteen months in barrel
Hand harvested Pagani Ranch grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.28 grams/liter calcium carbonate added during fermentation to moderate excessive natural acidity; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 174 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. 41, October 2015): 90 Points. “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, intense, smoky, briary, blackberry and blueberry fruit aroma with a note of black pepper; full body; big, rich, ripe, extracted, mouth-filling, dark berry fruit flavors that show some late harvest character and a hint of residual sugar; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended.” (Group Score: 16.4, 1/3/1; My Score: 17 [90/100], seventh place)
Average Rating: 89.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 80
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