93 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
92 Points – Anthony Dias Blue, Blue Lifestyle
91 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
91 Points – Wine & Spirits
Dark garnet-red color. Aromas of ripe plum and cherry fruits, sweet oak, and complex gravel earth. Enters with sweet bramble fruit, rich tannins, toasted oak, and complex minerality. Refreshing acidity supports a long finish. EB (1/20)
Winter was unusually dry. If not for heavy rain in March, the vines would have struggled through summer. Late season heat accelerated ripening for an early September harvest. Fermentations were slow and the wines reached dryness only after being pressed and sent to barrel. Fifteen months in oak has added exotic spice and integrated tannins with its appealing fruit. It will be most enjoyable over the next seven years.
Benito Dusi’s Ranch is the only zinfandel vineyard that Ridge sources from within the Central Coast Viticultural Area. The 1967 vintage was our first wine from the Dusi Ranch. It was planted to zinfandel in 1922 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. Benito passed away in 2019, leaving the care of the vineyard to his nephew, Mike.
Rainfall: 12 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Winter rains were light this year, totaling less than 12 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: 6.79 g/L
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation; 100% submerged cap; pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (80% Appalachian, 20% Ozark); (16% new, 42% one and two years-old, 13% three years-old, and 29% five years-old).
Aging: Thirteen 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; 4.7% water addition; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
The Wine Advocate: 93 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel Paso Robles, from Benito Dusi Ranch, bursts with layered aromas of orange peel, blue and black berries, aniseed and floral nuances. In the mouth, it’s soft and approachable, refreshing and spicy and packed with fruit, and it finishes long with an addicting juicy quality.” -Erin Brooks (February 2021)
Blue Lifestyle: 92 Points “Deep color and lush, jammy nose; smooth, deep and riding on a core tangy, crisp acidity; long and dense; from one of California’s premier vineyards; packed and long.” – Anthony Dias Blue (April 2020)
JebDunnuck.com: 91 Points “Coming from the Benito Dusi Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles and 100% varietal, the 2018 Zinfandel Paso Robles offers a big, classic nose of plums, cigar wrapper, sandalwood, and candied violets. Rich, medium to full-bodied, beautifully fruited, and textured, it has good acidity as well as a clean, dry finish. It’s a classic Paso Robles Zinfandel to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years.” – Jeb Dunnuck (May 2020)
Wine & Spirits: 91 Points “This is youthfully blunt and wildly concentrated, with so much cherry and black currant flavor and oak character that it feels chewy. Don’t touch it for a year; then serve it with mergues sausages.” -P.J.C. (June 2020 Issue)
Average Rating: 90.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 102
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