88% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 3% Alicante Bouschet
94 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
93 Points – William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
93 Points – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
93 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
Black cherry, pepper and chaparral on the nose. Briary red fruit, well defined, chalky tannins and refreshing acidity on the palate. Long sensuous finish. JO (7/18)
Ample winter rains and calm spring weather provided excellent conditions for flowering and set. The concentrated fruit from the century-old vines blended perfectly with the softer texture of the young vines. Lively acidity helps focus the layered, brambly fruit on the palate. Enjoyable upon release, this harmonious zinfandel will develop over seven to eight years.
Since 1991, Ridge has made zinfandel from the Pagani vineyard on the western side of Sonoma Valley. The majority of the vineyard was planted ninety to one hundred twenty years ago; portions of it were replanted between 2013—2018. The vineyard is meticulously tended by a quality-conscious family who has worked the land for four generations. An average site would have been abandoned during the thirteen years of Prohibition, or during the Depression. Its long survival is proof of its merit.
Rainfall: 38 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Mid-May, with veraison by mid-July
Weather: A very wet December and January helped ease the drought which emphatically ended in March. Cool weather in April reduced the crop. Harvest started mid- September and finished quickly.
Harvest Dates: 14 – 21 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.1˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; pumped over a floating cap and pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 30% one and two years old and 55% three, four and five years old).
Aging: Twelve 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; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 65 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.
Vinous Media (Aug 2018): 94 Points “The 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is bright, focused and beautifully perfumed. Bright red cherry, blood orange, pomegranate, mint and rose petal notes are all lifted in this exquisite, finessed Zinfandel. Silky, medium in body and gracious, the 2016 is absolutely sublime. The oak is just a bit pronounced at this stage, but that should not be an issue over time.” – Antonio Galloni
Palate Press (Dec 2018): 94 Points “Cherries and raspberries lead a lovely bouquet. Full-bodied and round, with chewy tannins and tart acidity. Cherries, from tart to sweet. Buy it a nice steak. It deserves it. Highly Recommended.” – David Honig
The Wine Advocate (May 2018): 93 Points “The 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is excellent, offering up a lavish bouquet of ripe cherries, raspberries and sweet spices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with an ample core of succulent, mouthwatering fruit structured around fine-grained, youthfully chewy tannins. Rich and concentrated, it’s balanced by mouthwatering acids. It should be well worth following for the next 10-15 years.” – William Kelley
JamesSuckling.com (Nov 2018): 93 Points “A charmingly medium-bodied red that is a blend of 88 per cent zinfandel, nine per cent petite sirah and three per cent alicante bouschet. Raspberry and blueberry aromas deliver a fresh impression on the nose that leads to a crisply appealing palate with a brightly resolved finish. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling
JebDunnuck.com (February 2019): (93 Points). “Made by John Olney, as well as in the Sonoma facility for the first time, the 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch offers lots of smoke tobacco, dried herbs, and savory black and blue fruits to go with a medium-bodied, nicely balanced style on the palate. With fine tannins and rock-solid acidity, it’s another terrific wine that’s loaded with character. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years.” – Jeb Dunnuck
California Grapevine (Oct 2018): 91 Points “Medium-dark ruby; fragrant, spicy, ripe, blueberry and blackberry fruit aroma with notes of black pepper and bacon fat; full body; rich, spicy, nicely balanced, briary, dark berry fruit flavors; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Enjoyable to drink now and over the next two to four years. Very highly recommended.” – Nick Ponomareff
Wine Spectator (Oct 2018): 91 Points “Brooding and dense in structure, offering appealing if eccentric black plum, smoky licorice and spice box flavors that finish with lively tannins.” – Tim Fish
Connoissers’ Guide (Jan 2019): 91 Points “There is no shortage of “there” here, but it is presented in a balanced, polished and very deeply fruited package that shows the winery’s unrivalled ability to get the most out of Zinfandel while still staying entirely within fairly classic varietal boundaries. The wine’s clear focus on black berries with hints of red and its soft, rich woody trim are backed by early suppleness on entry and underlying tannins that bring both backbone and aging potential to the wine. It is so well made that it could drink perfectly now with roasted lamb dishes while also promising a more sophisticated side if allowed to rest in the cellar for some three to five years.”
The Fine Wine Review (Dec 2018): 90 Points “This is one of the best Pagani Zinfandels I can remember in recent years. The vines now are roughly a century old, and accordingly gives a creamy texture to this wine. The fruits are dark, there’s some minerality, and no heat showing from the 14.8% stated alcohol. I’d drink this wine over the next 8-10 years.” – Claude Kolm
Average Rating: 90.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 89
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