San Luis Obispo County
Medium ruby. Scented cherries, pomegranate, rhubarb, pepper spice. Cherry jam on entry, lively acid, fruit-covered tannins, sweet oak finish. -Eric Baugher (1/15)
This vineyard is typically hot and dry in summer—a challenge to grape-growing, especially in 2013’s drought. Yet, unexpectedly, the vines set the largest crop in eight years. That slowed ripening, intensifying flavors. The first grapes were submerged-cap fermented. Remaining parcels, picked a month later, fermented with a floating cap. When malolactic fermentations finished, we combined the lots, by taste, for this wonderfully approachable zinfandel, which shows warm-region fruit, yet maintains refreshing acidity. It will be at its best over the next five to six years.
The Benito Dusi Ranch is the only vineyard in the Central Coast Viticultural Area from which we source grapes. Our Monte Bello vineyards are in the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Area which is not in the Central Coast. The 1967 vintage was our first wine from this vineyard. It was planted to zinfandel in 1923 which is unusual because Prohibition had started two years earlier. Purchased by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi in 1924, the property has been farmed since the 1940s by their son Benito, the owner.
Rainfall: 7 inches (half of normal)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Dry winter, summer and fall. Warm temperatures.
Harvest Dates: 3 September – 8 October.
Grapes: Average Brix 24.7
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation; 37% submerged cap and 63% floating cap; pressed at ten days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels 17% new, 51% one and two years old, 32% three, four and five years old).
Aging: Eleven months in barrel.
Benito Dusi Vineyard grapes, hand harvested; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35ppm at crush, 166ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions. Ingredients: Hand harvested grapes, indigenous yeasts, naturally occurring malolactic bacteria, oak from barrel aging, minimum effective SO2.
California Grapevine (Vol. 41, May 2015): 93 Points. “Medium-dark ruby color; attractive, forward, rich, ripe, briary, jammy, dark cherry and black raspberry fruit aroma with good depth and intensity; full body; forward, deep, juicy, brambly, red and black fruit flavors with firm structure, good acid balance, and mouth-filling richness; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very enjoyable to drink now. Very highly recommended.”
Vinous Media (July 2015): 90 Points. “Ridge’s 2013 Zinfandel Paso Robles, from the Benito Dusi Ranch, exudes Paso warmth and richness. Unquestionably racy and overt, the 2013 offers striking depth and intensity, with a slightly roasted, sweet quality to the fruit. Sweet tobacco, cedar and dried herbs add closing shades of nuance, but the 2013 remains quite opulent in style. Still, all the elements are in the right place. The 2013 could use a few years to soften. It will be appreciated most by readers who enjoy intense, super-ripe Zinfandels.” – Antonio Galloni
Read review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
Average Rating: 90.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 82
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