100% Zinfandel – Organically Grown
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93 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
91 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
90 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Dry Creek Valley
Ripe blackberry, cocoa and mint on the nose. Brambly red fruit palate with a tannic grip, finishes with notes of chapparel and licorice. JO (2/19)
In 1999, we planted this twenty acre parcel to zinfandel. As the vineyard matures, depth and complexity of flavor have increased. In 2017, the vines set a short crop with smaller clusters than usual, resulting in one of the most concentrated wines we have made from East Bench. Twelve months aging in American oak has softened tannins. Enjoyable upon release, this exemplary zinfandel will age for a further six-to-seven years.
Ridge has made the East Bench as a single vineyard wine since 2006, one of the few Ridge zinfandels that is 100% zinfandel. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.
Rainfall: 61.5 inches (above normal)
Weather: A wet winter gave us the 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 – 1 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.0˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; once daily pump-overs; pressed at eleven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (10% new, 25% one year old, 25% two years old, 20% three years old and 20% 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; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 182 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
The Wine Advocate: 93 Points “Medium ruby color and is scented of violet, lilac, warm peaches and yellow apricot with wet clay, dust, red and black cherries, bramble fruit and notions of dried herbs and earth melted right into all that fruit. Medium to full-bodied, it has wonderful earth-tinged fruits in the mouth with chalky, integrated tannins and juicy acidity, finishing long and layered.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)
JebDunnuck.com: 91 Points “The 2017 Zinfandel East Bench comes from the Dry Creek Valley and has a classic bouquet of spice blue fruits, sweet kirsch, cedar, and tobacco leaf. It’s a juicy, forward, delicious effort that has notable purity, as well as balance. Drink it anytime over the coming 15 years or more.” – Jeb Dunnuck (June 2019)
Vinous Media: 90 Points “The 2017 Zinfandel East Bench is bold and forward, with all of the intensity of Dry Creek very much in evidence. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, leather, licorice, spice and chocolate all race out of the glass. The East Bench is always extroverted in style, as it is once again in 2017.” – Antonio Galloni (October 2019)
Wine & Spirits: 90 Points “This wine is a paean to Ridge’s devotion to California’s viticultural heritage. The 19th-century vineyard site, neighboring Ridge’s Lytton Springs vineyard, was abandoned in the early 20th century. Working with cuttings from four pre-phylloxera vineyards, Ridge has been replanting the site, including the two blocks that provided this wine, planted in 2000 and ’01. They produced a lean, fragrant red in 2017, a gracious young zinfandel with notes of stewed cherries and shiso. Pour it with apple-wood smoked baby back ribs.” – J.G. (May 2019)
The Fine Wine Review: 90 Points “This wine is all Zinfandel, from vines planted in 1999, so now attaining maturity. This was a low-yield year and the wine shows it with good density and depth to go with intense, spicy crushed blackberry fruit and some almond from American oak. The wine is good for drinking now and over the next 6-8+ years.” – Claude Kolm (April 2019)
Average Rating: 90.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 89
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