96 Points – Tom Lee, Zinfandel Chronicles
94 Points – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
94 Points – Owen Bargreen, OwenBargreen.com
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
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Briary fruit, vanilla and pepper on the nose. Layered blackberry on the palate, balanced by ample acidity and a hint of licorice on the finish. JO (7/22)
Each year we pick the zinfandel at the Dusi Ranch over five to six days. The last parcel harvested is typically the ripest. Rather than blend this wine into our Paso Robles bottling, we keep it separate to express the ripe, abundant fruit typical of old vine zinfandel. Enjoyable upon release, this exuberant wine will gain complexity with a further five years of aging. JO (11/21)
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 called 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 Dusi’s door and asked to buy five tons of grapes.
Rainfall: 8 inches (below average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Winter rains were light this year. The vines yield was average, with good ripeness.
Harvest Dates: 24 August
Grapes: Average Brix 25.0
TA: 5.85 g/L
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary; 100% floating cap fermentation
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (20% new, 80% four years 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, 69 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 “Stunning nose of red fruits, anise and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Packed with bright, juicy fruits. Cherry, raspberry liqueur, strawberry and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Year in and year out one of my favorite wines in the Ridge Zin lineup. Best over the next 4-6 years.” -Tom Lee (August 2022)
JamesSuckling.com: 94 Points “This is a generous red with tannins that spread across the palate. The fruit shows so much dark berry, chocolate and walnut husk character. It’s long and flavorful. Juicy Dusi. Drink now or hold.” -James Suckling (October 2022)
OwenBargreen.com: 94 Points “This 100% varietal, single vineyard bottling, offers very fragrant red fruits and red florals on the nose, with dried herbs and green bell pepper notes. The palate is very vibrant and fresh, with a pretty core of red fruits, with green peppercorns, cigar box and bright acidity holding everything in place. Enjoy this beauty over the next decade.” -Owen Bargreen (August 2022)
Wine Enthusiast: 93 Points “Loads of earth and smoked meat aromas kick off the nose of this bottling from a historic property, with smashed berry, plum and anise notes also arising. There’s solid tension to the palate, where strawberry compote, peppercorn and dried pork flavors align.” -Matt Kettmann (September 2022)
Vinous Media: 90 Points “The 2020 Zinfandel Benito Dusi is a pretty wine to drink now and over the next handful of years. In 2020, the Dusi is quite floral and also a bit light in structure, which might explain a touch of sweet oak that comes through. Bright red-toned berries, sweet spice, rose petal and cedar are nicely lifted in this silky, mid-weight Paso Robles Zinfandel.” -Antonio Galloni (October 2022)
Average Rating: 90.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 36
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