2014 Ridge "East Bench" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
*Two Stars* Despite its touted 100% Zinfandel composition, this bottling is brawnier than one would expect of Ridge, especially one with all Zin as its cepage. That said, it reaches out with deep and highly concentrated blackberry scents augmented by rich vanilla bean oakiness and a hint of black pepper spice. It is full and somewhat supple to start, then gains a certain muscular astringency towards the finish without compromising its attractive personality. Three to six years in bottle are possible here.
Ridge's 2014 Zinfandel East Bench is a standout, especially considering its price. Brisk and wonderfully perfumed, the 2014 possesses striking aromatic presence to match its mid-weight personality. This is one of the more silky, refined Zinfandels readers will come across. I can't recommend it highly enough. At this stage, the East Bench has almost Pinot-like finesse. The East Bench is a great choice for by the case purchases, as one or two bottles won't nearly be enough. This is a rare 100% Zinfandel from Ridge, as the other Zinfandels in the range are field blends. (AG)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Zinfandel East Bench (100% Zinfandel as well) is the biggest of these wines at a whopping 14.9% alcohol. Nearly Provençal in character, this wine displays good, fleshy, ripe black cherry and blackcurrant fruit and loads of spice, with zesty acids and light tannin. This medium to full-bodied Zinfandel is a beauty and should drink nicely for the next 4-6 years. (RP)
One of only two Zinfandels that Ridge bottles as a 100% varietal Zinfandel (more often, Petite Sirah and Carignane join the mix), East Bench was first made in 2006 from this 15-year-old vineyard. Those who have visited Dry Creek Valley might have caught a glimpse of the "east bench" from certain vantage points: facing west, it's truly on a different elevation from the valley floor vineyards, and is excellent Zinfandel habitat. Ridge's winemaker tasting notes on the 2014: "Nose of raspberry jam, pepper, violets. Full bodied and rich on the palate with red berry fruit and supple tannins. Firm acidity and mineral notes add to the long, elegant finish."