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94 Points – William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Santa Cruz Mountains
Deep ruby color. Black cherry, plum, cranberry, exotic barrel spice, black tea. Appealing ripe mountain fruit entry, lively acid, round tannins, opulent, beautifully complex, long finish. EB (5/16)
This dry growing season began a month early, and warm summer weather ripened the grapes for a September 24 harvest. Eight days of fermentation, with twice-daily pumpovers, provided full extraction. After pressing, the wine was held for five weeks to complete malolactic. It then spent sixteen months in american oak. Rich and wonderfully complex now, it will continue to develop over the next seven to eight years.
Since the late 1960s, Ridge has made small quantities—ranging from five to seventeen barrels—of wine from this nineteenth-century vineyard. A number of you are familiar with our Jimsomare Zinfandel.
The vines were planted by Alsatian Pierre Klein, a San Francisco restaurateur. While famous for his Bordeaux-varietal wines, which won gold medals at the Paris Exposition of 1900, it was his zinfandel plantings that survived Prohibition and the Depression.
In 1936, San Francisco’s Schwabacher family purchased Klein’s Mira Valle property, re-naming it “Jimsomare,” for James (father and son), Sophie (wife and mother), and Marie Louise (daughter). In 1966, vineyard manager Elmano Homem pruned the long-neglected vines, and brought the vineyard back to life. Ridge first harvested the zinfandel in 1968. In the 1970s and 80s we shared in replanting the cabernet vineyards adding some chardonnay acreage as well and took over the farming of the ranch in 1996 as part of our Monte Bello Estate. We now refer to it by its original owner’s name as the Klein Ranch. (1400’ – 2000’).
Rainfall: 11.8 inches (40% of normal)
Weather: Very dry December & January; most of the rain fell February through April. Overall above average temperatures at Monte Bello.
Harvest Date: 24 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.6˚
Fermentation: Grapes were destemmed and fully crushed; fermented with a floating cap and pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (40% one year old and 60% two years old).
Aging: Sixteen months in barrel.
All estate grown Monte Bello 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 (25ppm at crush, 193ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
The Wine Advocate (May 2018): 94 Points. “From vines planted on Monte Bello’s limestone soils before Prohibition, the 2014 Zinfandel Jimsomare is a beauty, opening in the glass with a pure bouquet of blackberry, currants, sweet forest floor and clove-like spice. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, bright and textural, with velvety tannins, an ample core of fruit and beautiful balance. It’s a comparatively gourmand, generous rendition of Jimsomare that attained 15.2% natural alcohol, but it retains the precision and tension that are this bottling’s calling card and which make it such a singular Zinfandel.” – William Kelley
Average Rating: 91.7
No. of Tasting Notes: 19
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