Monday, June 6, 2011

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2007 Zinfandel

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2007 Zinfandel, $30.59-$35.99, 92 points, is a wonderful way to return to the place of Zinfandel.
I had no complaints about my detour to Italy, but I can't say that anything there, that I tasted, was much better than this.
The Pagani Ranch has a beautiful dense ruby-red color, and a typically wonderful aroma, one that makes me just breathe it in as my necessary air, with cedar and cinnamon spice.
The early palate acidity enhanced the tart cherry and mellow plum as layers of fruit balanced off one-another in an archetypical waltz. In step is the pirouette of firm tannins swirling around a late palate tang and lunging long with a white pepper finish.
On the third day the 2007 Pagani continued to evolve with cigar and grape notes, without any unpleasant developments.
This is just another in the long line of remarkable wines that Ridge builds. This one is crafted from 92% Zinfandel (bramble-spice), 5% Alicante Bouschet (Friendly and soft), and 3% Petite Syrah (Firm and powerful). For years the Pagani Ranch has scored upwards of 95 points, but for a number of reasons the 2007 vintage scored, by the pros, in the mid-eighties, but I guess that I'm a die-hard fan, and if the 2006 is 10 points higher rated, I'll be amazed at just how good Ridge wines can be. WS scored the 2008 vintage 92 points.

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  1. Anyone who scores the 2007 Pagani Ranch 85 points should compare it with Peachy Canyon Incredible Red and ask themselves which wine would "I" chose?
    I use the Peachy Canyon as an example of absurdity, and I doubt that 85 points is the score that these pros give to a number of obviously lesser Zins. "It's all relative", but some kind of proportionality is called for, some consistency. Comment turned into commentary!

  2. Cellar Tracker had 21 first page comments and only 2 were under 87 points, and 12 were 90 and above; this becomes very interesting when you get a broad perspective.

  3. A quote from Douglas Frost, Master sommelier: "My buying preferences don't include much California (wines) anymore, with one very large exception. A cursory inspection of my cellar will reveal more wine from Ridge Vineyards than any other single winery in the world."

    Whether Douglas Frost likes the 2007, I haven't been able to find-out, but one thing that I've noticed about Ridge wines is restraint, which often is interpreted as "weak" rather than nuanced.
    Again subjectivity rules, but being a newbie in the wine world has left me trying to sort-out, my "natural" proclivities and understanding how I can love powerful wines like Shafer and Two Hands, yet enjoy the subtleties of a Ferrer Bobet, Georges Dubceuf Morgon, or the subtle layer upon layer of flavors weaved into Frog's leap wines.
    Well, leave a comment, and we can sort this out together, or we can explore these wine-places together.

  4. I received this e-mail from a wine advocate, but because she did not send it to my blog, I'll not mention her name:
    "After a changing of the guard at the influential publication the Wine Advocate, the greatest California winery is now finally getting the critical acclaim it deserves. It is a pleasure to see four decades of inspired winemaking be fully understood and appreciated. A great winery with great vineyards and a great vintage to work with has resulted, unsurprisingly, in a great bottle of wine. Read on..."
    Hi, NH Wineman!
    Interesting questions! I have loved Ridge for so many years I never thought about thier scores! But you are right. And of course Jason from Solano Cellars has the answers: Apprenatly RIdge weas (sic) not to the taste of the former WA folks. However now, you should start to see higher scores as the editoral staff has changed. Of course scores are subjective, so...

    I was glad to get this e-mail, not for what ostensibly seems to be a tasting bias, but because this writer thought enough about the wine industry to take her time and send this, and because it helps me hone my palate, it assures me that I just might be on the right track with so little reference.
    When I first began to drink wine I read this: Good wine exploration is "taste, taste, taste, and take notes.
    September 19, 2011 6:22 AM