96 Points – Zinfandel Chronicles
94 Points – Anthony Dias Blue, Blue Lifestyle
94 Points – Owen Bargreen, OwenBargreen.com
93 Points – Wine Spectator
93 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
92 Points – Wine Enthusiast
Dark garnet-red color. Pungent red cherry, mountain bramble, sweet oak, and a hint of floral notes. Rich cherry fruit and lively acidity on the palate. Full-textured with complex minerality and a long finish. JO (7/21)
Above-average winter rain provided the vines much needed water for their growing season. Paso Robles’ warm climate fully ripened the grapes from the canyon block. With its well-drained gravel subsoil, it is one of the driest areas of the ranch, intensifying vineyard character in the wine. This vintage shows the appeal of old vine zinfandel. Enjoyable now, this exotic wine will improve over the next twelve years.
The zinfandel on this Paso Robles ranch was planted in 1923. The property was purchased soon after by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi, who raised three sons there—Guido, Dante, and Benito. When Guido and Dante went to war in 1944, vineyard cultivation was left to Sylvester and young Benito—eleven years old at the time. Beni, as his many friends call him, maintained the vines from then on. Ridge’s long relationship with Beni and the Dusi vineyard began when Dave Bennion—scouting the area in 1967— knocked on the Dusis’ door and asked to buy five tons of grapes.
Rainfall: 34 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: A cool wet spring gave way to typically beautiful Paso Robles weather: hot days, cool nights, great for zinfandel.
Harvest Dates: 12 September
Grapes: Average Brix 26.2
TA: 8.70 g/L
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary; 100% floating cap fermentation; pressed at seven days
Barrels: 90% air-dried American & 10% French oak barrels (21% new, 3% three-year-old, 76% four-year-old).
Aging: Twelve 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; 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.
Zinfandel Chronicles: 96 Points “Benito Dusi Ranch is located south of Paso Robles near Highway 101 and was planted in 1924. Bright crimson in color. 15.1% ABV. 100% Zinfandel. Sublime nose of red fruits, anise and pepper. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Tremendous concentration. Bursting with bright fruits. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry liqueur and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. One of the best Ridge Zins in recent memory. This will age well. Best over the next 5-7 years.” -Tom Lee (September 2021)
Blue Lifestyle: 94 Points “Smooth and juicy, bursting with ripe berry fruit, pure and classic, fresh and seductive.” -Anthony Dias Blue (September 2021)
OwenBargreen.com: 94 Points “This 100% Zinfandel wine weighs in a touch higher than the other Zins (15.1%) yet the freshness is wonderfully intact here. Rich red fruits parade with stony minerals, smoke and shades of Hoisin sauce on the palate. Completely delicious to consume now, enjoy this beautiful wine over the next ten years.” -Owen Bargreen (August 2021)
Wine Spectator: 93 Points “Broad-shouldered yet finely detailed, showing floral raspberry, crushed stone and smoky anise flavors that gather richness and refined tannins on the finish. Drink now.” -T.F. (April 2022)
Vinous: 93 Points “The 2019 Zinfandel Benito Dusi marries Paso opulence with striking finesse, making for a hugely appealing wine that is totally dialed in. Silky tannins wrap around a core of red/blackish fruit, spice, leather, tobacco and incense. Deep and yet quite delicate, the 2019 is wonderfully expressive in this tasting. ” -Antonio Galloni (May 2022)
Wine Enthusiast: 92 Points “From vines that reach back nearly a century, this bottling hits the nose with grilled strawberry, cinnamon roll and caramel aromas. It’s a spicy party on the palate, with clove and mace decorating the baked strawberry core. ” -Matt Kettmann (January 2022)
Average Rating: 90.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 25
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