2011 Ridge "Three Valleys" Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend
*Editor's Choice* Ridge hews to a leaner, lower alcohol style than most California wineries these days, resulting in wines that arenít blockbusters, but are complex and food-friendly. This bottling defines such a style. Itís dry and lithe in the mouth yet gently tannic, with suggestions of berry jam, bacon, grilled mushrooms and hints of balsamic and soy sauce.
Its wide-ranging blend of grapes and well-mannered ripeness takes this wine off in a direction that is less bold than most Zinfandels these days, but, in some nice ways, it is better for it. With mid-volume, red berries and light spice in its aromas and a medium-full-body, it is a wine that is reasonably approachable and quite comfortable being paired with a variety of lighter Zinfandel foods like red-sauced pastas or an unadorned rib pork chop straight off the backyard barbecue.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Opaque ruby. Black raspberry, anise, vanilla and musky herbs on the perfumed nose and in the mouth. Juicy and open-knit, offering lively red and dark berry flavors and a deeper note of black cardamom. Supple tannins give shape to a sweet, nicely persistent finish. I'd drink this approachable wine in its youth, for the fruit.
Ridge blended just 65% Zinfandel into their "Three Valleys," a full 10% less than varietal requirements to be labeled "Zinfandel." But the balance is a tasty roster of all the "mixed black" grapes that growers have traditionally mixed into Zinfandel vineyards for well over a century, to deepen its low notes, and harmonize with its spicy top notes: 20% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 2% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Grenache.