92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Dry Creek Valley
Deep ruby color, mixed red fruits nose, subtle vanilla and oak spice, black cherry and raspberry palate with well coated tannins and bright acidity. JO (1/17)
This is our tenth vintage from this vineyard. A light crop with small berries yielded a wine with deep color, intense fruit and chalky tannins. The seven parcels that comprise the vineyard were fermented separately, then evaluated by blind tasting. Quality was high in all seven lots, which were blended,then aged in American oak for twelve months. Enjoyable now, this zinfandel will develop for another 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 100% zinfandel. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.
Rainfall: 33.2 inches (just below normal)
Weather: Very wet December, followed by the driest January on record (0.05”). Cool, wet late spring helped with rainfall totals, but reduced our crop across all varieties. Harvest started early (mid-August) and finished quickly.
Harvest Dates: 12 August – 9 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.4˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; twice daily pump-overs; pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (10% new, 40% one and two years old, 50% three and four 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; 1.2 % water addition during fermentation; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 59 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Vinous Media (August 2017): 92 Points. “The 2015 Zinfandel East Bench, 100% Zinfandel from Ridge’s Dry Creek estate, is deep, pliant and generous, all qualities that make it easy to drink and enjoy, even today. Succulent dark cherry and plum fruit flavors add to the wine’s up-front personality. Bright acids perk up the finish, but this is a decidedly fruity style.” – Antonio Galloni
California Grapevine (July 2017): “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, forward, ripe, perfumed, red and black berry fruit aroma with hints of baking spices and black pepper; full body; big, rich, briary, red and black fruit flavors with herbal notes and undertones of toasty oak; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Appealing to taste now, though deserving a few mor years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended. 14.7% alcohol; 5,000 cases; 100% Zinfandel; released April 2017.”
(Group Score: 16.4, 3/0/0; My Score: 17 [91/100], fourth place)
Wine Spectator (WS Online – June 12, 2017): 90 Points – “Refined and well-built, with raspberry and smoky dill aromas and sleek, zesty cherry and licorice flavors that linger nicely. Drink now through 2024.” – TF
Average Rating: 90
No. of Tasting Notes: 45
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