My Dad is one of the reasons I fell in love with wine. Not only is it his pure and earnest enjoyment of a good glass or his devotion to St- Emilions, but it’s the fact that every once in a while he’ll get a bee in his bonnet for a real nice bottle which he’ll crack open with glee when I’m home and we have a chance to share. Luckily, just such a case happened last time I was in town when my dad popped the 2016 Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County.

I’d had this wine with my Dad years ago after he brought back a bottle from a business trip to California. I foolishly didn’t make tasting notes, but one impression stood out — and that was “WOW.” It was rich and audacious in that way only Californian wines can really be, but refined enough for drink-now appeal (though of course it could be cellared.)

This time when my dad bought Ridge Three Valleys, I wasn’t going to miss the chance for a proper wine review. Here’s what I thought:

Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County Review

I’m so-so on Zinfandels. In the sense that really good ones are really good but even sort of good ones leave me unimpressed. But for some reason, if you deftly blend it with a few other grapes I’m usually awestruck and that is precisely the case with Ridge Three Valleys. It’s a combination of 68% Zinfandel, 15% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 5% Grenache, each bringing their own flair to the party, and standing up to the robust 14.3% ABV.

On the nose, Ridge Three Valleys opens the show with a hearty whiff of plum and strawberries, with a backbone of summer garden flowers. It’s quite aromatic and continues to open up the longer it sits in your glass. There is just the faintest hint of alcohol when you dip your beak in but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

Once tasted, Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County reminds me why I had such a positive first impression. The fruit on the nose is there even more pronounced, but backed up with spices, a touch of leather and blackberries. The floral notes are strong in this medium-bodied red, and are the most pronounced on the finish, which lingers on and on. It is a damn fine sipping wine.



Final Verdict

This Californian has a lot of character. Extremely well-balanced fruit and floral notes come from this complex, Zinfandel-forward blend, and despite it's not-insignificant price is definitely a wine worth sipping slow.