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. John Olney is Head Winemaker at Ridge.
Ridge recently sent me samples of some new Advanced Tasting Program (ATP) releases.
2019 Ridge Rockpile – Crimson in color. 14.3% ABV. 71% Zinfandel and 29% Petite Sirah from Botticelli Vineyard. Pretty nose of red and black fruits, citrus, earth and pepper. Medium body with medium to strong acidity. Well balanced with structure, power and prominent tannins. Raspberry, black cherry, iron and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. The Petite Sirah adds enough backbone here that this wine should drink well for another 5-8 years. $36 at the winery. My rating: 93 points.
2018 Ridge Zinfandel Boatman – Purple in color. 15% ABV. 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah. Black fruits, pepper and dill on the nose. Full bodied with strong acidity. Concentrated and packed with lush fruits. Well balanced. Black cherry, black raspberry, cocoa and pepper on the palate. The finish is long with pronounced tannins. Big, burly Zinfandel that could use some time in the cellar. Best over the next 4-6 years. $36 at the winery. 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.