8% Petite Sirah. Here is marvelous proof that high ripeness and fine balance need not be mutually exclusive, for while the wine checks in at 15.4% alcohol, it is as deep in defined fruit and as carefully structured as any Zinfandel in this month's survey. It is simply brimming with berries from the first, and, while fully ripe, it is not in the least bit overdone. It is laced with briary spice and complementary oak, and its long, tannin-firmed finish is as well-focused on outgoing fruit as its intense, deep and handsomely crafted aromas. As impressive as it may be at the moment, it will only get better with time, and the best prescription is for a few years of patience.
This was my first look at a new offering from Ridge, the 2007 Zinfandel East Bench. From a young Dry Creek Valley vineyard, it is a blend of 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah (15.4% alcohol). Its big, open-knit bouquet of briery black raspberries and black cherries is followed by a fleshy, medium to full-bodied wine revealing good freshness as well as a savory, up-front style. I would opt for drinking this offering over the next 4-5 years.
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