100% Zinfandel – Organically Grown
94 Points (Editor’s Choice) – Wine Enthusiast
93 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
93 Points – Wine & Spirits
92 Points – Wine Spectator
92 Points – Anthony Dias Blue, Blue Lifestyle
91 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
91 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
Dry Creek Valley
Raspberry, fig with notes of vanilla on the nose. Flavors of plum and black olive give way to well coated tannins and black olive in the lingering finish. JO (1/20)
The growing season at this hilltop vineyard began favorably with mild spring weather. Thanks to steady, warm weather throughout August, all seven parcels were ready to pick by early September. After fermenting each separately, we chose six for their exuberant fruit, elegant tannins and balanced acidity. Enjoyable upon release this exemplary zinfandel will evolve over 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: 25 inches (below normal)
Weather: Winter rains were light this year, totaling 25 inches. Rains in April and May helped the vines get through the summer.
Harvest Dates: 11 – 14 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.7˚
TA: 6.42 g/L
Fermentation: Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; once daily pump-overs; pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (10% new, 10% one year-old, 20% three years-old, 20% four years-old, and 20% five years-old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Hand-harvested; estate-grown organic grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the indigenous yeast, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35ppm at crush, 75ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Wine Enthusiast: 94 Points + Editor’s Choice “Complexity and balance are the hallmarks of this beautifully composed and full-bodied 100% Zinfandel wine. Black-pepper, dried sage, and deep blackberry aromas lead to a rich, velvety, subtly tannic texture and supple black-fruit impressions. Best through 2030.” – Jim Gordon (January 2021)
JebDunnuck.com: 93 Points “All Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley, the 2018 Zinfandel East Bench offers up a great, pure, medium to full-bodied style that carries lots of classic spice, brambly herbs, incense, and plum-laced fruits. Nicely balanced, structured, and with solid length, this terrific Zinfandel will be even better with a year in bottle and keep for a decade.” -Jeb Dunnuck (May 2020)
Wine & Spirits: 93 Points & Best Buy “Not far from Ridge’s Lytton Springs, East Bench was planted to vines in the 19th century, though those vines were abandoned in the early 20th. Nearly 100 years on, the team at Ridge started replanting the site, using cuttings selected at four vineyards planted before Prohibition. David Gates farms it as he does Ridge’s historic mixed plantings, the vines head trained and spur pruned. John Olney made this wine from vines planted in 2000 and 2001, creating a plump and delicious zinfandel emphasizing cozy fruit richness and firm tannins. It is exuberant, a pleasure to drink, while holding enough tension to make it a cellar candidate.” -J.G. (October 2020 issue)
Wine Spectator: 92 Points “Appealingly old-school and just rustic enough to highlight the vibrant, briary wild berry flavors, laced with dried sage and licorice notes, building tension toward lively tannins. Drink now through 2028.” -T.F. (March 2020)
Blue Lifestyle: 92 Points “Rich plum, sec and vanilla nose; silky and crisp; juicy and fresh, lively with hints of earth and spice, silky, energetic and long. Organic.” -Anthony Dias Blue (April 2020)
Vinous Media: 91 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel East Bench is an absolute joy to taste. Bright acids perk up the sweet red berry fruit in this lively, flavorful 100% Zinfandel from vineyards in Dry Creek. Fresh, vinous and so wonderfully inviting, the 2018 is delicious now, but also has the energy to develop in bottle for another decade, perhaps more.” -Antonio Galloni (September 2020)
The Wine Advocate: 91 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel East Bench has aromas of spice-laced red and black berries with accents of earth and tar. Medium-bodied, the palate is surprisingly juicy, with earth-laced fruits, pleasantly chewy tannins and a lifted finish.” -Erin Brooks (February 2021)
Average Rating: 89.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 73
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