2014 Ridge "East Bench" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1248187 91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 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.  (9/2016)

91 points Vinous

 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)  (7/2016)

90 points 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)  (8/2016)

K&L Notes

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."

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Price: $29.99

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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. 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).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.9