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93 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
92 Points – Wine Spectator
Deep garnet color. Black cherry fruit aromas and scented barrel spice. Rich bramble fruit on entry, medium body, integrated tannins and lively acidity, a long, opulent finish. EB (1/18)
A wet winter helped the vines recover from drought. Yields returned to normal. Summer warmth ripened the crop for a late August harvest. Destemmed and fully crushed grapes were sent to tanks for submerged-cap fermentation, lasting eleven days. This made a wine with great complexity and richness. Showing Paso Robles’ warm region character, it’s appealing now, and will continue to develop over the next eight 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: 18 inches (normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Good winter rains; vines bounced back with an almost normal crop of excellent fruit.
Harvest Dates: 25 August – 2 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.0˚
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation; 100% submerged cap; pressed at eleven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels; 70% two years old, 30% three 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 (35 ppm at crush, 41 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): 93 Points
“The 2016 Zinfandel Benito Dusi Ranch is gorgeous in the way it melds together the richness of Paso Robles with the freshness and energy that are such Ridge signatures. Ripe dark cherry, plum, leather, licorice and spice notes infuse this succulent, inviting Zinfandel. The 2016 was done with submerged cap maceration, which gives the wine a super-classic feel.” – Antonio Galloni
Wine Spectator (June 2018): 92 Points. “Appealingly old-school, with briary black cherry and smoky pepper beef flavors and a whiff of coconut that build zestiness on the long finish. Drink now through 2024.” —T.F.
California Grapevine (Vol. 44, No. 3, May 2018): “Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive, fragrant, spicy, raspberry and blackberry fruit aroma with hints of dill, dried herbs, and black pepper; full body; rich, ripe, brambly, red and black fruit flavors with firm acidity and oaky undertones; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Appealing to drink now, though best to bottle age for a couple more years. Very highly recommended. ” (Group Score: 16.3, 0/2/1; My Score: 17 [90/100], third place)
Vinography (May 2018) “Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry pie and licorice. In the mouth, licorice, blackberry, and blueberry compote flavors have excellent bounce thanks to bright acidity. Muscular tannins creep round the edges of the mouth, while sour cherry and black cherry notes linger in the finish with a hint of licorice. 14.6% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9.”
Average Rating: 90
No. of Tasting Notes: 66
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