2011 Ridge Vineyards "Pagani Ranch" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1138859 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (includes 18% alicante bouschet, 3% petite sirah and 1% mataro): Inky ruby. Pungent aromas of cherry, dark berries, dried rose and musky earth, with a hint of vanilla in the background. Smooth and fleshy on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors that are lifted by gentle acidity. Fine-grained tannins give shape to a focused finish with sustained cherry and floral notes.  (5/2014)

90 points Vinous

 The 2011 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is one of the most overt wines in this range of 2011 Zinfandels from Ridge. Whereas as Geyserville and Lytton Springs are wines of site, first and foremost, the Pagani Ranch really screams Zinfandel in its intense, super-ripe fruit. The 2011 is an excellent choice for drinking over the next handful of years. In 2011 the blend is 78% Zinfandel, 18% Alicante Bouschet, 3% Petite Sirah and 1% Mataro (Mourvedre)  (7/2013)

90 points Wine Spectator

 A bruiser of a Zin, dense and full of stuffing, showing ripe plum, grilled herb and toasty vanilla aromas that lead to dried cherry, smoky anise and tar flavors. Drink now through 2021.  (1/2014)

Connoisseurs Guide

 Intriguing elements of dried flowers, black tea, vanilla and smoke lend this fairly ripe field blend a distinct personality all its own, yet, while loosely hinting at dark berries and distantly of dried grapes, the wine is not profoundly fruity. That is not to say that it is in any way lacking in character or interest, and it is, in fact, a complex and inviting offering of fine weight and real suppleness that will please in the near to mid-term.  (1/2014)

K&L Notes

Pagani Ranch has been an important Zinfandel in the Ridge lineup since the first bottling in 1991. The Pagani property, on the east-facing side of Sonoma Valley, features low-yielding vines which are almost entirely over 100 years old. It has been tended by the same quality-conscious family for four generations. Winemaker Eric Baugher describes the profile of the 2011 vintage as such: "Deep garnet; boysenberry and rhubarb aromas, barrel spice, licorice and fresh mint; ripe plum fruit, juicy acid, sensuous tannins, long finish."

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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).