Dry Creek Valley
Nose of raspberry jam, pepper, violets. Full bodied and rich on the palate with red berry fruit and supple tannins. Firm acidity and mineral notes add to the long, elegant finish.
Fifteen years ago, Ridge planted this hilltop to zinfandel; as the vines matured, flavors intensified. Spring rain reduced this year’s crop, and a warm August brought early harvest. Smaller berries and lower yields meant concentration; for the first time all seven parcels were equally outstanding, and therefore included. This robust but approachable zinfandel is enjoyable now, or over the next six to seven years.
Ridge has made the East Bench as a single-site zinfandel since 2006. One of only two Ridge zinfandels that is entirely from the single varietal. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.
Rainfall: 18 inches (1/2 of normal)
Bloom: Mid-May, with veraison by mid-August.
Weather: Very dry and cold December and January; most of the rain fell February through April. Cool spring and early summer delayed ripening.
Harvest Dates: 30 August – 24 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.7˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; twice daily pump-overs; pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 40% one and two years old, 30% three and four years old and 10% five years old)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Hand harvested; sustainably farmed, estate-grown organic grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.27 % water addition during fermentation; oak from barrel aging; 0.14 g/L tartaric acid; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 145 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
The Wine Advocate (August 2016): 90 Points. “The 2014 Zinfandel East Bench (100% Zinfandel as well) is the biggest of these wines at a whopping 14.9% alcohol. Nearly Provençal in character, this wine displays good, fleshy, ripe black cherry and blackcurrant fruit and loads of spice, with zesty acids and light tannin. This medium to full-bodied Zinfandel is a beauty and should drink nicely for the next 4-6 years.” -Robert Parker
Vinous Media (July 2016): 91 Points. “Ridge’s 2014 Zinfandel East Bench is a standout, especially considering its price. Brisk and wonderfully perfumed, the 2014 possesses striking aromatic presence to match its mid-weight personality. This is one of the more silky, refined Zinfandels readers will come across. I can’t recommend it highly enough. At this stage, the East Bench has almost Pinot-like finesse. The East Bench is a great choice for by the case purchases, as one or two bottles won’t nearly be enough. This is a rare 100% Zinfandel from Ridge, as the other Zinfandels in the range are field blends.” -Antonio Galloni
California Grapevine (June 2016): 2014 Ridge, “East Bench,” Dry Creek Valley ($30) –Medium-dark ruby; attractive, earthy, cedary, black cherry and blackberry fruit aroma with hints of brown sugar, baking spices, and black pepper; full body; rich, ripe, briary, red and black fruit flavors with spicy and herbal notes, oaky under-tones, and a textured, slightly rough mouthfeel; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Appealing to taste now, though deserves a few more years of bottle aging. 14.9% alcohol; 5,750 cases; 100% Zinfandel; released April 2016. (Group Score: 16.3, 2/0/2; My Score: 17 [90/100], fifth place)
Average Rating: 89.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 33
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