Deep ruby. Black cherry, stewed plum, exotic barrel spice. Ripe bramble on entry, firm acid, gravelly mineral, medium-full body, round tannins, integrated oak finish. EB (1/16)
The third year of drought—and driest yet—reduced yields. Miraculously, the vines held on for a late-August harvest. A seven-day fermentation fully extracted the small berries, producing an intense wine. A warm January increased cellar temperatures, finishing the remaining sugar. Once returned to barrel, the wine continued aging for twelve months. Ripe fruit, exotic spice, and elegant tannins give it immediate appeal, and it will be at its best over the next five to seven years.
Benito Dusi’s 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 a part of the Central Coast. The 1967 vintage was our first wine from the Dusi Ranch. 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: 6.5 inches (half of normal)
Weather: Very cold and dry December, not much rain until February & March. Typical hot days and cool nights during growing season.
Harvest Dates: 30 August – 5 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6˚
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation; 15% submerged cap and 85% floating cap; pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels; 21% new, 51% two and three years old, 28% four and five years old).
Aging: Twelve 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, 150ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
California Grapevine (June 2016): 2014 Ridge, “Benito Dusi Ranch,” Paso Robles ($32) – Medium-dark ruby; attractive, forward, briary, slightly jammy, dark cherry and black raspberry fruit aroma with hints of black olive, dill, and other dried herbs; full body; rich, herbal, textured, slightly jammy, red and black fruit flavors with good depth and acid balance full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Rich, ripe fruit makes the wine very appealing to drink now. Very highly recommended. 14.4% alcohol; 4,250 cases; 100% Zinfandel; released April 2016. (Group Score: 16.2, 0/2/2; My Score: 17 [90/100], sixth place)
Average Rating: 89.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 58
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