2018 Ridge Vineyards, Mancini Ranch, Carignane and Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County.
The Ridge 2018 Mancini Ranch is an old vine field blend which is primarily Carignane 80% and with lesser dose of Zinfandel 20% making for beautiful and slightly lighter style wine with loads of fresh detail and with a more cool climate character than the Dry Creek and or Alexander Valley bottlings. Still ripe, dark and delicious this Mancini Ranch that is labeled 13.1% natural alcohol highlights Carignane’s bright elements and black fruit personality, but even with only 20% the Zinfandel really shines through with loads of raspberry, delicate cinnamon spice and cedar leading on the palate adding blackberry, plum and currant fruits as well as anise and sage notes. This is so delicious I couldn’t help but have an extra glass of this Mancini Ranch with pizza, I am already thinking of getting more bottles while it is still available! If you are a fan of Ridge’s wines you will love this and it will cheer your friends mood at BBQs and Summer dinner parties with simple cuisine, this vintage has a certain charm that is impossible to resist.
Carignan or Carignane is a grape mostly found in the south of France with serious plantings in the Languedoc’s Corbieres as well as being one of Rhone grapes found in Chateauneuf du Pape as well as being a minor player in Gigondas too, along with have a home in Spain from the Priorat to Rioja, plus the Italian island of Sardinia. It has been in new world a long time, probably longer than most other noble French varietals and Zinfandel, Carignane grows well here in Sonoma County, especially in Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and in this case the Russian River, as well as Mendocino where most solo efforts seem to come from, as well as seeing a newer set of planting in Paso Robles, thanks to selected clones being brought over by Tablas Creek and the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel. Ridge has of course a fabulous selection of Zinfandel based wines from which to chose, including my favorites like Lytton Springs and Geyserville, but you should venture into their Rhone based stuff, especially these Carignane led offerings, with their Buchignani, from Alexander Valley and this Mancini Ranch.
($36 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive