Ridge Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel 2009
|Region||California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley|
A rich, lusty and satisfying Zinfandel, showing classic varietal flavors of ripe, wild red berries, tobacco, soy sauce, bacon and white pepper. Alcohol is notable in the slight heat and glyceriny sweetness, but those elements are welcome parts of the wine's personality. Drink now.
The 2009 Zinfandel East Bench is a big, burly wine loaded with dark cherries, flowers, tobacco and sweet herbs, all of which come together on a medium-bodied frame. It shows lovely length and personality, although some rough edges remain. With air, though, some of those angular contours begin to soften. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. I tasted a breathtaking array of wines during my recent visit with Paul Draper at Ridge. Draper is a true American icon, so it's great to see him doing well after a bout with illness. I also tasted a number of older wines, including several Monte Bellos going back to the 1970s. Heretical as it may sound, I think the wines Draper is making today will prove to be far superior to the wines of decades past, many of which are rightly considered legendary. For ease of reference I have also included notes on all of the Ridge wines made outside the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Chardonnays are fermented with native yeasts and go into barrel with their gross lees, which are stirred once a week. The malos usually start the following spring. The wines are assembled just before the following harvest and go back into neutral oak. Aging is about 15 months for the Estate and 17 months for the Chardonnay Monte Bello, with a maximum of 25% new barrels. The reds are fermented with ambient yeasts, undergo malolactic fermentation in tank (except for the Monte Bello which is mostly done in barrel) and stay on their gross lees until the following spring.
Distinctive for its deep, rich fruit that blends ripe black cherry with spicy dilled raspberry. The flavors are zesty and a touch earthy, with notes of toasty herb and briary anise, while the tannins are a bit rustic on the finish. Drink now through 2016. 6,000 cases made.