Ridge is a Sonoma County pioneer, early advocate of sustainable viticulture, and long-time practitioner of minimal-intervention winemaking. Ridge also happens to produce some of the most consistently superb Zinfandel you’ll encounter. Consider “Three Valleys”, the winery’s entry-level Zinfandel blend, a good introduction. Unlike Ridge’s single-vineyard wines, which reflect the distinct character of each site, Three Valleys demonstrates skillful blending at the highest level. While Zinfandel sets the wine’s varietal character; old-vine Carignane contributes bright fruit and acidity; Petite Sirah gives spice, depth of colour, and firm tannins; and Grenache brings briar fruit and lively tannins.
Fruit is sourced from a number of Ridge-approved Sonoma vineyards. The winery takes great care in selecting the fruit, which is hand-harvested, crushed, then eased through primary and malolactic fermentation by native yeast at Monte Bello and Lytton Springs. Minimal sulphur is introduced. The wine spends 10 months in American oak (only 5% new) prior to blending.
Ridge Zinfandel is never over-blown or sappy, and 2017 is no exception. Full-on garnet in the glass, the nose plays on fresh raspberry and blueberry, clay, and oak spice. The palate is rich and brambly, with wild fruit, chewy tannins, and creamy-sweet oak. Appealing now, you could lay it down until 2020.
“Lively and well-built, with expressive cherry, roasted dill and white pepper flavours that glide toward refined tannins. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Grenache. 15,750 cases made.”
91 points, Wine & Spirits magazine, April 2019