Ridge's Pagani bottlings have been a bit uneven in success, but this latest effort hits the mark smartly as a big, plush, moderately complex wine whose undisguised ripeness is married to a nice bit of juicy fruit. Made more interesting by a sprinkling of peppery spice and glimmers of both chocolate and vanilla, it is at once both unctuous in feel and quite well-balanced. Despite its claim of 15.4% alcohol, it shows surprisingly little heat, and closes with a lengthy aftertaste of optimally ripened berries.
The (15% alcohol) 2001 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch (88% Zinfandel and 12% Alicante Bouchet) is a powerful effort. It reveals surprisingly good acidity for a wine of this size, as well as deep, chewy, Amarone-like raisiny, raspberry and cherry flavors intermixed with hints of prunes and earth. A touch of asphalt also makes an appearance in this full-bodied, chunky 2001.
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