2010 Ridge Vineyards "Ponzo Vineyard" Russian River Zinfandel
Open, nicely fruity, enriched by creamy oak and just plain easy to drink in a somewhat direct and entirely likeable way, Ridge's Ponzo bottling is a great example of straightahead Zinfandel. If it is less complex than its pricier partners in the Ridge lineup, it is also so precise in its "pure" berryish fruit that it offers a brilliantly clear look at the variety's personality. Moderate in its tannins but not without enough grip to work with most pork or pasta dishes, it does not want a lot of cellar time but is sure to reward it nonetheless.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(includes 4% petite sirah): Inky ruby. Intense, spice- and mineral accented red berry aromas pick up a floral nuance with air. Juicy and penetrating, offering lively raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and hints of licorice and musky herbs. A subtle vanilla quality comes through on the finish, which lingers with a lasting spicy note.
A controversial wine that will divide the Zinfandel community. Some will find the earthiness and herbaceousness an attractive complication to the briary berry fruit and spices. Others will think it’s not quite ripe and lacking richness. The score reflects the wine’s complexity and adaptability to a wide range of fancy foods.
*Smart Buys* Tightly wound yet richly structured, offering boysenberry and spiced anise aromas, with deep, crisp plum, dill and earthy mineral flavors that finish with big, ripe tannins. Best from 2014 through 2018. 1,250 cases made.