2006 Ridge Vineyards "Ponzo Vineyard" Russian River Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1037851 Connoisseurs Guide

 *One Star* If not at all lacking in richness nor in the keen, blackberry fruit that marks top Zinfandels, this mannerly wine also counts balance among its chief virtues. Slightly fleshy and supple in feel with a bit of acidity brightening its finish, it shows plenty to like at the moment but is built in a way that suggests even more to come with age.  (1/2008)

Wine Spectator

 A bit untamed, yet appealing for its berry pie and white pepper aromas and baked rhubarb, smoky licorice and toasty dill flavors.  (12/2008)

K&L Notes

95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah. According to the winery: "Cool spring weather and foggy mornings delayed fruit set at Bob Ponzo's Russian River vineyard. Thinning of the younger vines in mid-July helped speed ripening, though cool, rainy weather in early September delayed harvest until early October. After natural primary and secondary fermentations, we blindtasted the three vineyard blocks, choosing the Old Vines and Triangle parcels to make the 2006 Ponzo. The wine aged in air-dried American oak for twelve months before bottling. Fifteen percent new oak adds sweetness and complexity, complementing the natural acidity and fine tannins. This cool-climate zinfandel shows the exotic fruit typical of the Russian River region ..." (JO 11/2007)

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Price: $34.99
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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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.