2017 Boatman Zinfandel

2017 Boatman Zinfandel

Wine Information

92% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah

95 PointsWine & Spirits
93 Points – Anthony Dias Blue, Blue Lifestyle
91 PointsWine Spectator




Boatman Ranch


Alexander Valley

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Enticing nose of raspberry, citrus blossom and oak spice. Soft and sumptuous on the palate with red currant fruit and licorice notes in the long lasting finish. JO (1/20)

Vintage Notes

Late spring rains delayed bud-break. However, a number of weeks of very hot weather expedited ripening and, for the fourth year in a row we harvested early, in the last week of August. After fermenting each of the seven vineyard blocks separately, three were chosen for their intense fruit expression and soft, round tannins. Enjoyable upon release, this hillside-grown zinfandel will evolve over the next five to six years.


Tim Boatman’s grandparents, Emilia and Eugene Moretti, emigrated from the mountain town of San Pellegrinetto, Italy in the early 1900s. In 1935, Emilia and Eugene acquired the fifty acre ranch that sits in the hills on the border of Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. Eugene used the property for wood cutting and when he passed away he left the property to Tim’s mother and uncle. Tim purchased the property from them in the mid-sixties, when he was only nineteen years old. In 1972, Tim Boatman planted fifteen acres of zinfandel on the steep hillsides that surround his house. The rocky, east-facing terraces are ideal for growing intense, concentrated fruit.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 31.5 inches (above normal)
Bloom: May
Weather: A wet winter gave us much needed rains. Cool weather in the spring affected set across all varieties. Several heat spikes in late June, July and August saw temperatures over 105 degrees. Harvest started before the Labor Day heat wave hit. We quickly finished harvesting by mid-September.


Harvest Dates: 29 August – 3 September
Grapes: Average Brix 26.8˚
TA: 6.00 g/L
pH: 3.78
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary (malolactic) fermentations; pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (20% new, 30% one and two years-old, 9% two, and 50% three and four years-old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel

Sustainably farmed, hand-harvested Boatman Vineyard grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; 1.25 g/L tartaric acid added; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush; 95 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 & Spirits: 95 Points + Best Buy “Tim Boatman planted this vineyard in the 1970s, the bush vines rising up a steep east-facing slope overlooking Alexander Valley. John Olney has been making a wine from the site since 2014, and it is quickly becoming a star of Ridge’s zinfandel portfolio (the 2016 earned 93 points). This wine benefited from an early harvest, at the end of August, long before the devastating wildfires at the end of the 2017 season. And it feels like it captured the August sun in its rich red-licorice flavors, the scent of roses on a summer morning, the spice of zinfandel skins and a breath of petrichor that cools the wine, as if refreshed after a summer rain. For me, that’s exactly what I want in a zin: complete, complex and packed with energy.” – J.G. (June 2020 Issue)

Blue Lifestyle: 93 Points “Crisp and juicy with black raspberry fruit and hints of vanilla; balanced, with finesse and racy style, a neatly tangy Zin with elegance and depth.” – Anthony Dias Blue (April 2020)

Wine Spectator: 91 Points “Sinewy and lean, yet appealingly rustic, with briary blueberry and cherry flavors that blend with notes of grilled sage and white pepper. Drink now through 2028.” – T.F. (May 2020 Issue)

JebDunnuck.com: 90 Points “Coming from the Alexander Valley and 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah, the 2017 Zinfandel Boatman offers a big, powerful bouquet of candied violets, plums, sandalwood, and incense. Rich and medium-bodied, it has a light, elegant texture, and good balance. It’s another charming, delicious, classic Zinfandel from this terrific estate. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years or so.” – Jeb Dunnuck (May 2020)

Connoisseurs’ Guide: 90 Points “Nicely ripened, spot-on in varietal focus and more on the refined side of things than it is big and bold, but still a wine with a good sense of substance from beginning to end, the 2017 Boatman Zinfandel is slightly supple in feel, its slight tag-end astringency notwithstanding, and its lengthy flavors reveal more and more layering as they progress to a firm, but fairly well-polished finish. It is mannerly enough to drink now yet promises more interest with time, and its well-integrated tannins afford it the structural spine to age without effort and improve for no fewer than four or five years.” (July 2020)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 89.3

No. of Tasting Notes: 47

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Food Pairings

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