2018 Ridge Vineyards “East Bench” Zinfandel
2018 Ridge Vineyards “East Bench” Zinfandel All Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley, the 2018 Zinfandel East Bench offers up a great, pure, medium to full-bodied style that carries lots of classic spice, brambly herbs, incense, and plum-laced fruits. Nicely balanced, structured, and with solid length, this terrific Zinfandel will be even better with a year in bottle and keep for a decade.
Raspberry, fig with notes of vanilla on the nose. Flavors of plum and black olive give way to well coated tannins and black olive in the lingering finish.
An absolute joy to taste. Bright acids perk up the sweet red berry fruit in this lively, flavorful 100% Zinfandel from vineyards in Dry Creek. Fresh, vinous and so wonderfully inviting, the 2018 is delicious now, but also has the energy to develop in bottle for another decade, perhaps more.
All-time Producer Makes A Stunner
At A Great Price
Ridge has proven itself to be one of the finest producers in California. From the legendary Cabernet Ridge Montebello to some of the greatest single vineyard Zinfandel based wines like Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Ridge makes some greatest wines ever made in the USA. Last week I tasted the 2018 East Bench Zinfandel and the wine was scintillating. From a vineyard that was originally planted in the 19th century. John Olney has crafted a wine that is classic Ridge and at $27.99 is an absolute steal.
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. 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. 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. Lytton Springs has been one of favorite blends ever. I love the wines ability to drink spectacularly well with just a couple of development and how the wine develops great depth and nuances with longer term cellaring. The East Bench Zinfandel appears to offer the same characteristics at a much better price. I strongly recommend you get in to the wines of Ridge!
Once thought to be native to California, the dark blue zinfandel grape can be used to make bold red wine or “”white zin,”” a pink, affordable wine. While made from the same grapes, the two wines are distinctively different in flavor, body, sweetness, alcohol content, and price. Red zin has lots of jammy, fruity flavor and is high in alcohol while white zin has a light, sweet flavor and low alcohol. The grape is also known as Crljenak Kastelanski in its native Croatia and as primitivo in southern Italy. Red zinfandel is known for its rich, dark purple color scheme, medium to high tannin levels, high alcohol content, and medium acidity. While the red wine tends to be medium-bodied and medium dry, it is bursting with flavors and aromas of jam, raspberry, blackberry, cherry, plums, cinnamon, black pepper, and licorice all wrapped around various intensities of oak.
White zinfandel is made from the same grape, but the skins are promptly removed after crushing. This creates a lighter-hued, lighter-bodied wine with lighter tannins and low alcohol. White zins tend to be lightly sweet with flavors of strawberry, cherry, and citrus. It lacks the bitterness of traditional red wine but also the complexity, making it a favorite among novice wine drinkers. Plus, it’s often sold for less than $10 a bottle. Zinfandel is one of the most popular wine grapes grown in California and is especially popular in northern California and the central coast. The vines like warm, sunny days but dislike intense heat, and the thin skinned-fruit is susceptible to rot. Good draining is key, making them good for planting on slopes. Zinfandel is typically grown in the summer and harvested as early as mid-August or well into fall, often called a “”late harvest”” zin. Old vine zinfandels are red wines made from grapevines over 50 years old. These are prized for their intense color and balanced flavors and often fetch a high price. Old vines grapes are almost exclusively used to make red zinfandel.