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Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2016

Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
  • V94
  • RP93
  • JS93
  • JD93
  • WS91
14.8% ABV
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14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Black cherry, pepper and chaparral on the nose. Briary red fruit, well defined, chalky tannins and refreshing acidity on the palate. Long sensuous finish.

Since 1991, Ridge has made zinfandel from the Pagani vineyard on the western side of Sonoma Valley. The majority of the vineyard was planted ninety to one hundred twenty years ago; portions of it were replanted between 2013—2018. The vineyard is meticulously tended by a quality-conscious family who has worked the land for four generations. An average site would have been abandoned during the thirteen years of Prohibition, or during the Depression. Its long survival is proof of its merit.

Blend: 88% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 3% Alicante Bouschet

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
V 94
Vinous
The 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is bright, focused and beautifully perfumed. Bright red cherry, blood orange, pomegranate, mint and rose petal notes are all lifted in this exquisite, finessed Zinfandel. Silky, medium in body and gracious, the 2016 is absolutely sublime. The oak is just a bit pronounced at this stage, but that should not be an issue over time.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is excellent, offering up a lavish bouquet of ripe cherries, raspberries and sweet spices. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with an ample core of succulent, mouthwatering fruit structured around fine-grained, youthfully chewy tannins. Rich and concentrated, it's balanced by mouthwatering acids. It should be well worth following for the next 10-15 years.
JS 93
James Suckling
A charmingly medium-bodied red that is a blend of 88 per cent zinfandel, nine per cent petite sirah and three per cent alicante bouschet. Raspberry and blueberry aromas deliver a fresh impression on the nose that leads to a crisply appealing palate with a brightly resolved finish. Drink or hold.
JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck

Made by John Olney, as well as in the Sonoma facility for the first time, the 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch offers lots of smoke tobacco, dried herbs, and savory black and blue fruits to go with a medium-bodied, nicely balanced style on the palate. With fine tannins and rock-solid acidity, it’s another terrific wine that’s loaded with character. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years.

WS 91
Wine Spectator
Brooding and dense in structure, offering appealing if eccentric black plum, smoky licorice and spice box flavors that finish with lively tannins. Best after 2019.
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Ridge
Ridge, 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.

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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.

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Zinfandel

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Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. And it fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.

Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly expresses powerful notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often expresses red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics of juniper and menthol.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.

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, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.

SOU913205_2016 Item# 510360