Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Paul Draper recently retired and John Olney is making the wines at Lytton Springs and Eric Baugher at Monte Bello. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.
Ridge recently sent me samples of their new releases. All of these wines will be available on 9/1/20.
2018 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate Vineyard – Purple in color. 13.8% ABV. 97% Petite Sirah and 3% Zinfandel. Savory nose of black fruits, road tar and pepper. Full bodied with ample acidity. Dark and brooding with a shroud of tannins. Black cherry, blueberry, plums and earth on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Huge wine that is somewhat approachable now. The future is certainly bright. Best over the next 7-10 years. $40 at the winery and retail. My rating: 93 points.
2018 Ridge Lytton Springs – Bright crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. 72% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane and 2% Mataro. Sensational nose of brambly red and black fruits, anise, earth and pepper. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Dark fruited with structure in spades. Black cherry, black raspberry and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. This will certainly be a long lived Lytton Springs. Tons of potential. Best over the next 6-8 years. $45 at the winery and retail. My rating: 93 points.
2017 Ridge Monte Bello – Decanted at cellar temperature for 3 hours. Purple in color. 13.7% ABV. The final blend was 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Breathtaking nose of cool blue and black fruits, creme de cassis, espresso and graphite. Immensely concentrated and powerful with a sense of finesse. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. Black currants, blueberries, truffles and tobacco on the palate. The finish is long and seamless with ever so silky tannins. Thrilling wine that threads the needle between old and new world. A Monte Bello for the ages. This should hit it’s stride in about 10 years and drink well to 2050. $230 at the winery and retail. My rating: 99 points.
2019 Ridge Grenache Blanc – Very light color. 14% ABV. 77% Grenache Blance, 18% Picpoul and 5% Roussanne from Adelaida Vineyard. Pretty nose of lemon oil, grapefruit and flowers. Medium body with bright acidity. Tremendous mouth feel. Lemon, pears and minerals on the palate. The finish is long and refreshing. Fantastic wine on a warm Summer night. Best over the next several years. $30 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.
The entire Ridge lineup is available at the winery and for the most part at retail as well. Exceptional wines that are fairly priced, well crafted and easy to find. Everyone is always looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to wine. Sometimes it pays to stick with the tried and true. There is so much to like here.