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. Shauna Rosenblum was recently named the Winemaker at Ridge Lytton Springs.
Ridge recently sent me samples of a few wines that were recently released or will be released this Fall.
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 Benito Dusi – Bright red in color. 14.8% ABV. 100% Zinfandel from Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles. Stunning nose of red fruits, anise and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Packed with bright, juicy fruits. Cherry, raspberry liqueur, strawberry and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Year in and year out one of my favorite wines in the Ridge Zin lineup. Best over the next 4-6 years. $37 at the winery and retail. My rating: 96 points.
2020 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Ponzo – Bright crimson in color. 14.7% ABV. 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah. One of just a few Ridge Zins from the Russian River Valley. Charming nose of red fruits, peach and licorice. Medium body with medium acidity. Plush and approachable. Cherry, strawberry, earth and a hint of pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Delicious now but this will also show well for another 3-5 years. $37 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.
2020 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs – Dark crimson in color. 14.6% ABV. 79% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah and 10% Carignane. Show-stopping nose of red and black fruits, peach and baking spices. Medium to full bodied with perfect acidity. Tremendous mouth feel and texture. Black cherry, black raspberry, cocoa and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Just an awesome Lytton Springs in spite of the vintages challenges. Best over the next 8-10 years. $50 at the winery and retail. My rating: 95 point.
2017 Ridge Vineyards Buchignani Ranch – Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. 75% Zinfandel and 25% Carignane. Buchignani is on a later release schedule than the rest of the Ridge Zins. Super nose of black fruits, citrus and baking spices. Medium body with just enough acidity. Claret style with savory dark fruits. Black cherry, black raspberry, earth and pepper on the palate. Nice length on the finish. Terrific Zinfandel that over delivers for the vintage. Best over the next 2-4 years. $37 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 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.