Ridge Three Valleys Red 2008
Other Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
A second year of below-average rainfall made for a challenging growing season. A small crop was set in March, and ripened in time for a September harvest. The dry conditions resulted in smaller-than-normal berry size, which accentuated flavor. Natural yeasts carried out primary fermentation, and eight days of skin contact extracted elegant structure. Uninoculated secondary fermentation was complete in record time, allowing early assemblage. We chose the most accessible lots from six vineyards for this wine. Once blended and racked to barrel, clarity was achieved by racking off the sediment every two months. Integrated oak and appealing ripe fruit make this Three Valleys enjoyable now: it will be at its best over the next five years.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Three Valleys is 74% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignan, 4% Mourvedre, 3% Syrah, and 3% Grenache. Perhaps I should hold this review back for my Zinfandel report, but it seems to have enough Rhone Ranger grapes in it to include. Moreover, I really like the wine. Dark ruby, with loads of berry fruit and spice, as well as a hint of pepper, the wine is medium-bodied, spicy, and earthy, with some background oak. It is an attractive wine to drink over the next 2-3 years. "
Connoisseurs' Guide - "74% Zinfandel; 11% Petite Sirah; 5% Carignane; 4% Mataro; 3% Grenache 3% Syrah. Hitting all the classic varietal field-blend bases, but still convincingly defined as Zinfandel, this temperate, well-balanced bottling pulls back from the brink of high-ripeness and aims for a structured, claret-like style. Its precise, berry-like fruit comes with no chocolaty extras but hints of briar and tea-leaf do show here and there. First and foremost, it is a wine that is made to accompany food."
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 a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. 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 into 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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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