93 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate
92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
80% Zinfandel, 17% Alicante Bouschet, 3% Petite Sirah
Saturated ruby color. Boysenberry fruit, plum skin, toasted oak. Full entry, sweet bramble fruit, mineral earthiness. Layered, with dense full-bodied tannins, firm acid, lengthy finish.
A mild winter, short on rain, prompted an early growing season, and all nine parcels ripened beautifully for a mid-September harvest. As usual, the grapes arrived with naturally high acidity; rich flavors supported using more new oak than typical. Intense color and smooth tannins characterize this complex zinfandel, which will be most enjoyable over the next eight to ten years. EB (3/16)
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-nineteen 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: 18 inches (½ 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: 14 – 23 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; pumped over a floating cap and pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (21% new, 42% one year, 37% two years old).
Aging: Sixteen months in barrel
Pagani Ranch grapes; hand harvested; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.11 grams/liter calcium carbonate added during fermentation to moderate excessive natural acidity; 1.0% water; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (30 ppm at crush, 147 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Wine Spectator (November 2016): 90 Points. Combines power with elegantly focused fruit, offering aromas of black raspberry and fruitcake spice, layered with flavors of dried cherry, fresh herb and licorice. Drink now through 2027. – TF
The International Wine Report (October 2016): 92 Points. – “An exceedingly delightful Zinfandel, 2014 Ridge ‘Pagnani Ranch’ Zinfandel impresses with its poise and balance. This was sourced from a 30-acre vineyard, which was planted in 1900. This aged site has become one of the state’s premier sites for old vine Zinfandel. The wine begins with aromatics of dried raisin, red cherry and spicebox with black tea. There are concentrated flavors of red cherry, dill, sage and black tea. Herbaceous and complex, this will cellar beautifully for ten years. (Best 2016-2025)” -(OB)
The Wine Advocate (October 2016): 93 Points. “The deep purple colored Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is made in a medium to full-bodied, incredibly elegant and seamless style. The blend is 80% Zinfandel, 17% Alicante Bouschet and the balance Petite Sirah, aged all in American oak, and it boasts fabulous notes of plums, black raspberries, chocolate, spice and potpourri. It’s not a massive wine, but it glides across the palate, has ripe, sweet tannin and integrated acidity. Most importantly, it’s a joy to drink.” -Jeb Dunnuck
California Grapevine, (September 2016): 91 Points – “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, forward, intense, ripe, spicy, briary, jammy, blackberry and blueberry fruit aroma with a note of black pepper and a hint of bacon fat; full body; rich, ripe, cedary, mouth-filling, dark fruit flavors with good depth and concentration, firm acidity, and hints of black pepper and dark chocolate; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Rich fruit and tannin under control make this wine very enjoyable to drink now, though also shows good aging potential.” Very highly recommended. 14.8% alcohol; 3,200 cases; blended with 17% Alicante Bouschet and 3% PS; released September 2016. (Group Score: 16.4, 1/0/1; My Score: 17 [91/100], eighth place)
Vinous Media (July 2016): 92 Points. “The 2014 Pagani Ranch is the most immediate and obvious of the 2014 Zinfandels I tasted at Ridge. Ripe, forward and opulent, the Pagani will please readers who like a more flashy, up-front style. I expect the Pagani will offer most of its charms sooner rather than later, which makes it a terrific choice for drinking on the young side. I don’t see the pedigree or complexity of the best Zinfandels in the lineup, but the Pagani is delicious. This site seems to naturally produce a riper style as full flavor development and tannin maturity only take place late in the season.” -Antonio Galloni
Average Rating: 91.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 109
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