2017 Ridge Zinfandel Pagani Ranch

Year: 2017
Appellation: Sonoma County
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 94
James Suckling: 93
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.6%
Price :
$34.95

84% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 7% Alicante Bouschet, 2% Mataro

"Brooding and dark, with blackberry, licorice and tar notes that persist toward broad-shouldered tannins. Best from 2021 through 2027. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 325 cases made. -TF" (WS)

"The medium ruby colored 2017 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch offers lovely layers of tricolored berry preserves and stone fruit cobbler with baker's chocolate, dusty earth, garrigue, iron, fried herbs, charcuterie and an exotic spice undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the mouth with floral-tinged fruits framed firmly with grainy tannins and lifted by juicy freshness, finishing very long and layered.

Eric Baugher says winter rains saved the vines during the heat wave in 2017. “It was a wetter year,” he remembers, “and the vines had a chance to use those water resources through the growing season. So it was a slower, more steady progression toward ripeness. It got hot during Labor Day, but the vines got through fine because there was so much water in the soil.” Alcohols were a bit lower this vintage, and Baugher has been focused on bringing down overall levels. “We’ve been disciplined about picking earlier,” he comments, noting that in 2017 most of the fruit was off the vine before the heat. “By Labor Day all the fruit at Geyserville was in,” he says. “Carignan and Petite Sirah came in after the heat but didn’t show signs of over-ripening. Carignan thrives in the heat and isn’t susceptible to shrivel, so every drop went into the Geyserville blend this year.”

Baugher is optimistic about quality in 2018. “In 2018 we slipped back to drought. There was no rain in January or February at all. It was unusually dry, and we were pushing budbreak. Then it got really cold in March and April, and things stalled out again. The summer was nice with even temperatures, no heat spikes. We ended up with good weather at bloom and about average yields.” Uniform ripeness was a hallmark of the vintage for Baugher. “2018 had much more uniform ripening, which leads to a more complete, sensuous expression,” he says. “The Zinfandels have deep flavors and a quality of tannins I don’t see every year with that grape. They are just woven in with the fruit, creating a complete wine with great length and great vineyard expression as well. All the 2018s speak of place, and it’s a trick to get that to happen with Zinfandel. It has the tendency to overripen, and that puts a lid on vineyard expression. 2013 is another great example of a perfectly ripe vintage. It happens twice a decade, if we’re lucky.”

Baugher is excited about the 2018 Monte Bello, which I tasted from barrel. “For me, great vintages of Monte Bello are when all four varieties are included,” he explains. “There are 45 plots within Monte Bello. We grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, in that order. They’re fermented and go to barrel separately. For blending, everything is tasted blind. We’re looking at aromatics, texture and complexity, not grape variety. We look at the grape percentages after assemblage is finished. The years that are special are the years all four grapes make it into the blend, because the conditions in the vineyard have to be perfect.” The 2018 is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 11% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. While still very primary, it’s showing plenty of nuance and complexity already, and I look forward to tasting it again from bottle." (WA)

"The 2017 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is fabulous. A dark, exotic beauty, the Pagani possesses off the charts flavor intensity and depth, with striking perfume, voluptuous fruit and magnificent balance. Inky red/purplish berries, lavender and spice are all amped up in this racy, extroverted Zinfandel from one of the most historic sites in Sonoma Valley. " (VM)

"This mid-weight blend of 84% zinfandel, 7% petite sirah, 7% alicante bouschet and 2% mataro has a brambly, dark-berry nose with some purple flowers in the mix. The sleek palate has such freshness and the tannins are striking for their polish and finesse. Drink or hold."(JS)

"A blend of 84% Zinfandel with the balance Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, and Mataró, the 2017 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch reveals a translucent ruby/purple color as well as a beautifully complex bouquet of sandalwood, spice box, new leather, charred earth, and mulled plums and blueberries. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and textured, with sweet tannins, this beautiful Zinfandel knocks it out of the park in this difficult vintage." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Focused jammy blueberry fruit and pepper on the nose. On the palate, fresh cherry, mineral, firm acidity, balanced structure and long lingering finish. JO (7/19)