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 a few wines that will only be available at the winery.
2018 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Hooker Creek – From 127 year old vines planted near Hooker Creek north of Glen Ellen. Crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. 94% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah and 2% Alicante Bouschet. Stunning nose of red and black fruits, licorice and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Powerful and concentrated with tremendous purity of fruit. Black cherry, raspberry compote, cocoa and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Outstanding Zinfandel from an iconic site. Best over the next 4-6 years. $36 at the winery. My rating: 94 points.
2019 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Guadagni Vineyard – From a Dry Creek Valley vineyard where the Zinfandel vines date back to the 1950’s. Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. 76% Zinfandel and 24% Petite Sirah. Super nose of red fruits, baking spices and pepper. Full bodied with perfect acidity. The Petite Sirah is prominent. Well balanced. Cherry, black raspberry, spiced plums and white pepper on the palate. The finish is long with pronounced tannins. This has a long life ahead of it. Best over the next 6-8 years. $36 at the winery. My rating: 92 points.
2019 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Benito Dusi Ranch – Benito Dusi Ranch is located south of Paso Robles near Highway 101 and was planted in 1924. Bright crimson in color. 15.1% ABV. 100% Zinfandel. Sublime nose of red fruits, anise and pepper. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Tremendous concentration. Bursting with bright fruits. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry liqueur and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. One of the best Ridge Zins in recent memory. This will age well. Best over the next 5-7 years. $36 at the winery. My rating: 96 points.
Ridge has been defined by their Zin program for as long as I can remember and in recent years these wines have soared to new heights.
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.