From: Dry Creek Valley, California
Taste & Critical Acclaim:
Fresh black cherry, fig, and vanilla on the nose, with notes of mint. Medium to full body with rich raspberry on the palate and well-coated tannins. Beautifully balanced with a juicy finish.
JD 95 Jeb Dunnuck
Coming all from the Funsten Ranch in the Dry Creek Valley and 100% Zinfandel, the 2021 Zinfandel East Bench has a rich, more subtle style in its aromatics, with ripe plum, cigar, spice, and earthy nuances, and it certainly plays in the darker, red and black-fruited end of the spectrum. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium to full-bodied, has a deep, expansive, concentrated mouthfeel, velvety tannins, terrific mid-palate density, and a gorgeous finish. This richly textured, incredibly impressive Zinfandel needs 2-3 years to gain additional complexity but will be long-lived, with another 15+ years of prime drinking ahead of it.
WW 92 Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: The 2021 Ridge East Bench Zinfandel is aromatic and pleasing. TASTING NOTES: This wine—made from 100% Zinfandel—is tightly built with aromas and flavors of ripe berries and just a shading of oak. Serve it with grilled baby back ribs. (Tasted: April 19, 2023, San Francisco, CA)
Pairing: Zinfandel’s like this one pairs beautifully with barbeque, spicy foods, smoked cheeses, and tangy flavors, but is also easy to enjoy by itself. Some specific ideas include serving this alongside grilled meats, roast beef, beef stroganoff, braised short ribs (check out the recipe- as nachos, below!), brisket, skirt steak, flank steak, lamb meatballs, lamb picadillo tacos, barbecue pork, grilled steak, stuffed mushrooms, and hamburger sliders. Meaty pasta sauces and pasta bakes, meat-topped pizzas, baked, roast, or stuffed aubergine/eggplant, portobello mushrooms, and takeout tacos all work well too!
Short Rib Chili Nachos
By Melissa Clark
About. 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 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He planted vineyards and constructed a winery of redwood and native limestone in time to produce the first vintage of Monte Bello in 1892. The historic building now serves as the Ridge production facility.
Though Ridge began as a Cabernet winery, 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. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of Chardonnay since 1962.
Vineyard and winemaking. 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. Decisions on when to pick, when to press, when to rack, what varietals and what parcels to include and when to bottle, are based on taste. To retain the nuances that increase complexity, Ridge winemakers handle the grapes and wine as gently as possible. There are no recipes, only attention and sensitivity. Ridge has made the East Bench Zinfandel as a single vineyard wine since 2006, one of the few Ridge zinfandels that is 100% zinfandel. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.
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