Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. John Olney is Head Winemaker at Ridge.
Pagani Ranch is just off Highway 12 in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County. Angela and Felice Pagani came to Sonoma County from Italy, purchased the property and planted the vineyard in the early 1900’s. Norma (Pagani) Amantite still lives in the old farmhouse amidst the vines and her son Dino tends to the vineyard. In addition to Carlisle the fruit goes to Ridge, Seghesio, Biale and Bedrock.
Purple in color. 14.8% ABV. 88% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah and 3% Alicante Bouschet. Sublime nose of red and black fruits, licorice and pepper. Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Incredibly lush and bursting with bright fruits. Blackberry, raspberry compote, cocoa and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and smooth. Fantastic Zinfandel that should drink well for years to come. Pagani Ranch now rivals Lytton Springs and Geyserville in the Ridge Zinfandel program. Best over the next 3-5 years.
My rating: 93 points.
The entire Ridge lineup is available at the winery and for the most part at retail as well. Exceptional wines that are fairly priced, well crafted and easy to find. Everyone is always looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to wine. Sometimes it pays to stick with the tried and true. There is so much to like here.
I wrote about Ridge previously in New Releases from Ridge Vineyards and The 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.