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Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2015

Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
  • JD94
  • V94
  • WS93
15.2% ABV
  • V94
  • WW91
  • WS90
  • CG91
  • WS92
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  • CG95
  • CG93
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4.0 7 Ratings
15.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A cool start to the growing season kept the vines from flowering during spring storms, resulting in a full crop. Following a warm summer, the grapes ripened for a late September harvest. Rich color and tannins extracted during fermentation. After sixteen months in barrel, this sensuous wine shows great appeal. It will be most enjoyable over the next ten to twelve years.

83% Zinfandel, 10% Alicante Bouschet, 7% Petite Sirah

Critical Acclaim

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JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2015 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is 83% Zinfandel 10% Alicante Bouschet, and the balance Petite Sirah, all from the Sonoma Valley. This ripe, sexy, flamboyant beauty gives up a huge nose of sweet plums, melted licorice, violets, and dried herbs. It medium to full-bodied, has juicy acidity, and is a bigger, richer styled wine compared to the slightly more elegant 2014. This beautiful, pure, powerful Zinfandel is ideal for drinking over the coming decade.
V 94
Vinous
A dense, powerful wine, the 2015 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch exudes concentration in all of its dimensions. Red cherry jam, pomegranate, mint, rose petal and spice meld together in a plush, voluptuous Zinfandel loaded with personality. There is so much to like. The Pagani is the ripest and most overt of the three Zinfandel-based 2015s I tasted. A generous dollop of Alicante contributes to the wine's feel.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Deep and potently structured, with distinctive spice box and licorice aromas and densely layered flavors of blackberry, cracked pepper and smoky herbes de Provence that finish with big but ripe tannins. Best from 2019 through 2025. 4,500 cases made.
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Ridge
Ridge, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
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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.

Sonoma Valley

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Perhaps the most historically significant appellation in Sonoma County, the Sonoma Valley is home to both Buena Vista winery, California's oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California's oldest family-run winery.

It is also one of the more geologically and climactically diverse districts. The valley includes and overlaps four distinct Sonoma County sub-appellations, including Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley. With mountains, benchlands, plains, abundant sunshine and the cooling effects of the nearby Pacific, this appellation can successfully produce a wide range of grape varieties. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and most notably, Zinfandel all thrive here. Ancient Zinfandel vines over 100 years old produce small crops of concentrated, spicy fruit, which in turn make some of the Valley's most unique wines. These can also be made as “field blends” (wines made from a mix of grape varieties grown in the same vineyard) along with Petite Sirah, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

WLD941556_2015 Item# 336210