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 be released this Spring.
It should be noted that none of the Estate Vineyards of Ridge were impacted by the devastating Walbridge Fire in late August of 2020.
2020 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel East Bench – Crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. 100% Zinfandel from Funsten Ranch. Enticing nose of red and black fruits, plums and cocoa. Medium body with tremendous acidity. Rich and savory. Strawberry, black raspberry, earth and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and supple. Super Zinfandel that is a perfect reflection of the Dry Creek Valley. Best over the next 3-5 years. $37 at at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.
2020 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Paso Robles – Purple in color. 14.5% ABV. 100% Zinfandel from Benito Dusi Ranch. Sublime nose of red fruits, peach, baking spices and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Packed with bright, juicy fruits. Cherry, raspberry liqueur, boysenberry and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Undoubtedly the best vintage of this wine in recent memory. Best over the next 4-6 years. $37 at the winery and retail. My rating: 96 points.
2020 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville – Dark crimson in color. 14.1% ABV. 69% Zinfandel, 20% Carignane, 8% Petite Sirah and a sprinkling of Alicante Bouschet and Mataro. Savory nose of red and black fruits, flowers and pepper. Medium to full bodied with exquisite acidity. Big, dark and brooding. Black cherry, blackberry, cocoa and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish with prominent, gritty tannins. Somewhat approachable now but this vintage of Geyserville will drink well for at least the next decade. $50 at the winery and retail. My rating: 95 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.