Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2008
Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
Blackberry/pepper/vanilla nose. Big, dark zinfandel with flavors of briary fruit, minerals, cocoa. Well-incorporated tannins, ample acidity, long finish.
Wine & Spirits - "Ridge may be known for old-vine zin but the future is with the young, like this vineyard the Ridge team planted between 2000 and '01 using a massal selection from four pre-Prohibition vineyards. This zin grows on iron-rich clay loam and river rock, trained as bush vines, yielding a wine with bold intensity and a friendly sort of finesse. It's bright, vinous and spicy, with zinny florals that seem to rise right out of the meaty tannins. Old vines rarely produce a wine with this sort of exuberance. Decant it for roast lamb. "
Wine Spectator - "A classically styled Dry Creek Zinfandel, with briary cherry and spicy dill aromas and flavors that open with a burst of ripe raspberry but evolve into dry, crisp plum and licorice notes, with rustic tannins. Drink now through 2016."
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated ruby. Powerful aromas of ripe red and dark fruits, musky herbs and flowers, with slow-building spiciness. Warm and expansive in the mouth, offering lush cherry and blackberry flavors and notes of vanilla and anise. Dusty tannins add gentle grip to the finish, but this zinfandel leads with its fruit, which absorbs any edges. This could be drunk now with pleasure. "
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Ridge's history begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor and prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He planted vineyards and constructed a winery of redwood and native limestone in time to produce the first vintage of Monte Bello in 1892. The historic building now serves as the Ridge production facility.
Though Ridge began as a Cabernet winery, by the mid-60s it had produced several Zinfandels including the Geyserville. In 1972, Lytton Springs joined the line-up and the two came to represent an important part of Ridge production. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of Chardonnay since 1962.
The Ridge approach is straightforward: find the most intense and flavorful grapes, guide the natural process, draw all the fruit's richness into the wine. Decisions on when to pick, when to press, when to rack, what varietals and what parcels to include and when to bottle, are based on taste. To retain the nuances that increase complexity, Ridge winemakers handle the grapes and wine as gently as possible. There are no recipes, only attention and sensitivity. View all Ridge Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineriesRelated Links:
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about half as much wine as its northeasterly neighbor. Because of its vast size, however, Sonoma is able to achieve far more diversity within its borders, which include sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid-back and down-to-earth, but the wines are serious and well-made, ranging in style from subtle and elegant to rich and powerful. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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