Wine of the Week: 2020 Ridge Three Valleys

   It’s been six decades since the first commercial vintage at Ridge Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (The first experimental vintage, a cabernet sauvignon, was actually produced in 1959.) Ridge obviously is known for its flagship Monte Bello estate cab, but it’s also beloved by zinfandel fans, with the first zin produced in 1964.

   The Ridge team – including longtime winemaker Paul Draper, who joined in 1969 – sought out distinctive zinfandel from around the state, especially from old vineyards in Sonoma County. In 1991, Ridge acquired the Lytton Springs winery and vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.  

   The Ridge Three Valleys ($32) is one of the winery’s Sonoma County zin-based blends. The 2020 vintage is 74 percent zin, with the remainder made up of petite sirah, carignane and alicante bouschet.

   The wine is ripe (but not overripe) and plump, with fresh, dark berry fruit, notes of baking spice, white pepper and dark chocolate, and fine tannins. It has some weight, but it’s still easy to drink. Ridge Three Valleys is a good choice with any sort of meat dish, but it would also make a fine companion with Thanksgiving dinner.

   As an aside, I’ve drunk a number of old Ridge zins recently, and they’ve aged beautifully. So don’t be afraid to hold onto this one for a few years.

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