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Flat front label of wine

Ridge York Creek Zinfandel 2005

Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
  • W&S93
  • CG90
0% ABV
  • CG93
  • RP90
  • W&S90
  • CG89
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3.0 1 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Blend: 89% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah

York Creek Vineyard lies high on Spring Mountain, overlooking Napa Valley. The 2005 growing season began late; foul April weather disrupted bloom and set, substantially reducing the crop, but consistent summer weather enabled Ridge to harvest, as usual, in late September. Grapes from the individual parcels were destemmed, then crushed to seven small tanks—three with grids submerging the cap of skins, four with cap floating.

Natural fermentation began within three days, they pressed on the eighth; only a small amount of press wine was included. Following a brief uninoculated malolactic, the separate lots were racked to fifty-three-gallon air-dried american oak barrels to begin aging. By May, Ridge had assembled the most distinctive of these, returning them to barrel for further aging as a blend. Every three months, the wine was carefully drawn off its settled lees to achieve clarity. A mix of new, two-, and four-year-old oak allows vineyard and varietal character to dominate.

This appealing Zinfandel is redolent of York Creek's well-defined mountain fruit. Enjoyable now, it will continue to develop over the next five to six years.

"11% Petite Sirah. Solidly fruity right from the start with touches of caramel and new leather overlying its essential themes of ripe berries and plums, Ridge's York Creek bottling proves that full ripeness in Zin does not necessarily come with bothersome heat or jammy simplicity. It is moderately rich but never flamboyant, and, if trimmed with noticeable edge of Petite Sirah tannin, it is very much a table wine in direction and will develop nicely if set aside for a few years."
-Connoisseurs' Guide

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
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Ridge
Ridge, Napa Valley, 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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

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.

ASG66907_2005 Item# 92623