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Ridge "East Bench" Zinfandel 2009 (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California) - [WE 92] [RP 91]
Ridge "East Bench" Zinfandel 2009 (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California) - [WE 92] [RP 91]


Retail Price: $26.00
Artisan Wine Depot Price: $21.99
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Winery: Ridge Vineyards
Varietal: 100% Zinfandel
Region: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Vintage: 2009
Bottle Size: 750 ml


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Notes from the Winemaker (2008 vintage):

2008 Zinfandel, East Bench, bottled January 2010 One of our few single-varietal vineyards, East Bench sits atop the ridge that separates Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. Its red clay/loam soils are ideal for growing zinfandel. In 2008, set was complete by late May; in July, after veraison, we dropped twenty percent of the crop to ensure optimum flavor and intensity. The grapes were hand-harvested between August 26 and September 2, and fermented on their native yeasts. Juice was pumped over the skins twice daily for nine days to achieve balanced tannin, color, and fruit. After natural malolactic, the parcels were combined and racked to air-dried american oak barrels to age for twelve months. The
2008 East Bench is quintessential Dry Creek Valley, exhibiting the red fruit, pepper spice, and mineral flavors that have made the region famous. Enjoyable now, the wine will develop fully over the next five to seven years. JO (11/09)

100% ZINFANDEL. 14.9% ABV.

100% air-dried american oak barrels (25% new, 50% one to three, 25% four to five years old)

This is our third vintage from vines on the benchland that separates Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. The soils are
identical across the bench as are the climatic conditions giving the wines the chance to demonstrate consistent character as they mature. The original vineyards were abandoned around 1920, but the blocks have been gradually replanted over the last thirty years. This wine is from vines replanted in 2000, using budwood from our own old-vine vineyards. The East Bench zinfandel is classic Dry Creek – rich and structured with brambly dark fruit and chalky yet balanced tannins.

Ratings & Reviews

92 Points & "Editor's Choice" - Wine & Spirits Magazine:
"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."  — S.H.  (9/1/2011)

91 Points -
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"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." - Robert Parker (Aug 2011)

92 Points - Wine & Spirits Magazine (2008 vintage):
"Ridge may be known for old-vine zin but the future is with the young, like this vineyard the Ridge team planted between 2000 and '01 using a massal selection from four pre-Prohibition vineyards. This zin grows on iron-rich clay loam and river rock, trained as bush vines, yielding a wine with bold intensity and a friendly sort of finesse. It's bright, vinous and spicy, with zinny florals that seem to rise right out of the meaty tannins. Old vines rarely produce a wine with this sort of exuberance. Decant it for roast lamb."

90-92 Points -
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2008 vintage)
"The more powerful 2008 Zinfandel East Bench (100% Zinfandel; nearly 15% alcohol) boasts a dark plum/ruby color in addition to a big, sweet bouquet of briery fruit, earth, and pepper. Softer and fleshier than the 2007, it is meant for near-term consumption - 2-3 years." -Robert Parker, (2/10)

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