84% Zinfandel, 9% Alicante Bouschet, 7% Petite Sirah
96 Points – Zinfandel Chronicles
96 Points (Cellar Selection) – Wine Enthusiast
95 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
95 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
95 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
94 Points – Connoisseurs’ Guide
Enticing nose of boysenberry, guava and vanilla. On the palate, layered briary blackberry and a clean finish with bright acidity. JO (6/20)
Due to the cool micro-climate at Pagani Ranch, it is usually the last zinfandel vineyard we pick. To encourage ripening, we pulled leaves and dropped all of the largest clusters. We harvested the young vine zinfandel on October 10 and finished two days later with the alicante. Bright acidity and layered fruit typify this sensuous wine. It will gain complexity over the next 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: 12 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Winter rains were light this year, totaling less than twelve inches. A warm summer followed, ripening the grapes for a September harvest. The yield was average, with good ripeness.
Harvest Dates: 9 – 14 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.8˚
TA: 6.92 g/L
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation; 100% submerged cap; pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (82% Appalachian, 18% Ozark); 16% new, 42% one and two years-old, 13% three years-old and 29% five years-old.
Aging: Thirteen 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, 20 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 Enthusiast: 96 Points + Cellar Selection “Drenched with ultrarich fruit flavors, this generous, full-bodied and mouthfilling wine is an unabashed, fully ripened wine that exults in Zinfandel’s jammy blackberry and blueberry extravagance. High octane but also supple in texture, this will be a great wine to linger over at the end of a special meal. Best through 2030.” -Jim Gordon (January 2021)
Zinfandel Chronicles: 96 Points “Gorgeous nose of red fruits, peach and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Bright and juicy. Boysenberry, raspberry liqueur, earth and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Every bit as good as the the stunning 2017 Pagani. Best over the next 4-6 years.” -Tom Lee (August 2020)
The Wine Advocate: 95 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch, blended with 9% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah, is deeply scented with earth-laced blue and black berries and notes of licorice and dried herbs. The palate offers concentred fruits knit by grainy tannins and surprising uplift, and it finishes long and layered. This is youthfully wound and will have even more to offer with time in bottle.” -Erin Brooks (February 2021)
Vinous Media: 95 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is superb. A burst of sweet red/purplish fruit, exotic spice, flowers and blood orange fleshes out in a Zinfandel of tremendous class. The Pagani has a level of textural breadth and resonance that separates it from most wines in this range. It also has a bit more new oak than the other wines here, but that should not be an issue in time. Bold, creamy and sensual, the Pagani just hits all the right notes. I wouldn’t touch a bottle anytime soon. Readers who can find it will own a small piece of history, as Pagani is one of the most pedigreed vineyard sites in the United States.” -Antonio Galloni (September 2020)
JebDunnuck.com: 95 Points “A rocking Zinfandel from Sonoma County, the 2018 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch offers a more ruby/plum color to go with a great nose of spice red and black fruits, sandalwood, chocolate, and new leather. This spicy, medium to full-bodied, incredibly seamless 2018 has fabulous tannins, plenty of mid-palate depth, and a great finish. It’s every bit as profound as the 2017, if not better. It’s going to keep for 10-12 years.” -Jeb Dunnuck (August 2020)
Underground Wine Letter: Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary “Dark in color with a purple hue this wine has a stunning perfume with hints of cassis and plum with an exotic tinge. With loads of fruit and complex exotic tinged nuances this is a classic Zinfandel that is blended with 9% Alicante Bouchet and 7% Petite Sirah. It is a magical combination that is delicious now and will age gracefully for years to come.” (August 2020)
Connoisseurs’ Guide: 94 Points “Zinfandel drinkers of all stripes are going to love this ripe, sturdy, surprisingly balanced offering whose rich aromas of ripe blackberries, roasted vanilla and quiet layers of spice and bark come wrapped in a sturdy yet slightly supple texture. Its light-medium tannins and underlying acidity assure that this is a wine with a long life, and we would not hesitate to hold it for four to six years in order to let it fully open up. And, it could well age even further, if you, like us, are of a mind to wait on balanced, cellar-worthy Zins until they have achieved full maturity.” (January 2021 Issue)
Average Rating: 91.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 85
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