Wine of The Week: 2009 Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel, $23
by Brian Fry (Contact) | 2 entries
The Sonoma Three Valley’s Zinfandel has long been the flagship wine in Ridge’s impressive armada of high quality offerings. As the name suggests, Ridge blends grapes from three of Sonoma’s finest wine making appellations: The Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys. The grapes utilized are hand selected by Ridge’s master Winemakers as the travel around Sonoma looking for the best the county has to offer. The Winemakers at Ridge are known worldwide as master blenders. Their ability to combine different varietals (types of grapes) into wines of great depth and character is legendary in the wine world. The 2009 Three Valleys is reflective of that well-earned legendary status.
The blend for the 2009 vintage is emblematic of the great California tradition of Ridge. It also utilizes the creativity and passion of their European counterparts, and others throughout the wine world. The wine is composed of 70% Zinfandel, 15% Carignane, 10% Petite Syrah, 3% Grenache, and 2% Mataro. Each varietal brings a unique characteristic to the wine. Zinfandel defines the character and depth. Carignane contributes the bright fruit flavor. Petite Syrah provides the spice component. The wine is aged ten months in 100% American oak barrels and undergoes natural maloactic fermentation. The challenge when blending multiple varietals is to make each component come together in the bottle to produce a wine of great structure and complexity. This release of Three Valleys certainly meets that challenge and exceeds expectations for California Zinfandel blends.
The wine opens with aromas of berries, cedar and terroir that give a hint to the tremendous flavors to come. The raspberry, baked cherry, and plum flavors present on the palate with delicacy and balance. The ripeness of the fruit flavors really struck me as I thought for a minute I was enjoying farm fresh fruit in my glass. Like most Ridge wines, The Three Valleys offers some well integrated spice to go along with the sensational fruit. As the wine moves to the back palate, flavors of mocha and black pepper mingle with the fruit to provide a complex and flavorful finish. The wine’s flavor profile makes it a great companion to a diverse selection of cuisine including beef, pork, chicken, and pasta with red sauce.
2009 Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel is widely available in most local independent wine shops and many area restaurants. It is distributed locally by Ohio Wine and Beverage, so if your neighborhood store doesn’t have it in stock they can easily get it for you. The wine is delicious now and will continue to develop with aging over the next 3-5 years.