100% Zinfandel – Organically Grown
95 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
95 Points – Jim Gordon, Wine Enthusiast
94 Points – Tom Lee, Zinfandel Chronicles
94 Points – Owen Bargreen, OwenBargreen.com
93 Points – Wine & Spirits
Dry Creek Valley
Strawberry, raspberry, clove and vanilla notes on the nose. Blackberry and black olive flavors give way to mouth-coating tannins with a pleasant and lengthy finish. Classic Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. SR (10/22)
This vineyard sits atop a high bench overlooking Dry Creek Valley. It is one of our only vineyards planted solely to zinfandel. This year the vines again set a small crop and ripened quickly. All eight parcels were harvested the first week of September. Seven were selected for their exuberant fruit. This excellent wine will be at its best over the next ten years. SR (10/22)
Ridge has made the East Bench Zinfandel 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: 14 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: A dry winter and spring stressed the vines, limiting yields and concentrating flavors.
Harvest Dates: 3 – 7 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.2˚
TA: 6.55 g/L
Fermentation: Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (19% new, 9% one year old, 8% two years old, and 64% five-plus years old).
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel
Hand-harvested; estate-grown organic grapes; de-stemmed 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 (35 ppm at crush, 126 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
JebDunnuck.com: 95 Points “Coming all from the Funsten Ranch in the Dry Creek Valley and 100% Zinfandel, the 2021 Zinfandel East Bench has a rich, more subtle style in its aromatics, with ripe plum, cigar, spice, and earthy nuances, and it certainly plays in the darker, red and black-fruited end of the spectrum. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium to full-bodied, has a deep, expansive, concentrated mouthfeel, velvety tannins, terrific mid-palate density, and a gorgeous finish. This richly textured, incredibly impressive Zinfandel needs 2-3 years to gain additional complexity but will be long-lived, with another 15+ years of prime drinking ahead of it.” -Jeb Dunnuck (October 2023)
Wine Enthusiast: 95 Points + Cellar Selection “Supreme concentration and great depth characterize this powerful, structured and age-worthy wine. It boasts luscious dried plums and dried blueberries, plus plenty of black pepper and light wood-smoke accents, all backed by firm tannins. Best from 2025-2035.” -Jim Gordon (September 2023)
Zinfandel Chronicles: 94 Points “Ruby red in color. 14.9% ABV. 100% Zinfandel from Funsten Ranch in Dry Creek Valley. Pretty nose of red fruits, flowers and citrus. Medium body with medium acidity. Light, fresh and crisp with bright, expressive fruits. Cherry, strawberry, blood orange and pepper on the palate. Nice length on the finish. Really compelling Zinfandel that rivals the best from the appellation. Drink over the next 4-6 years.” -Tom Lee (March 2023)
OwenBargreen.com: 94 Points “The 100% varietal 2021 ‘East Bench’ Zinfandel comes from an organically grown site which is between the Dry Creek and Alexander Valley. Set on iron rich soils, this was stored in 20% new American oak (mostly Canton oak) before bottling. The wine shows incredible balance, with bright acidity and very juicy black fruits with coffee ground and citrus rind undertones. This is just a baby, so try to resist this beauty for another year. Drink 2024-2040.” -Owen Bargreen (April 2023)
Wine & Spirits: 93 Points “Consider East Bench living proof that zinfandel exceptionalism is not limited to ancient vines. When Paul Draper and his team set out to replant this 19th-century vineyard site on the eastern benchlands of Dry Creek Valley, they propagated vines from four pre-phylloxera vineyards and trained the young plants as bush vines. Now two decades old, those vines produced a floral, red-fruited beauty. That fruit may not have the depth of character of great zin from centenary vines, but it has its own elegant shape, funneling cherry jam and cherry-leaf scents into a tight focus, dry and austere in its youth. Like other classics from Ridge, this will benefit from years in the cellar.” -J.G. (April 2023)
Average Rating: 92.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 17
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