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.
Pagani Ranch is just off Highway 12 in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County. Angela and Felice Pagani came to Sonoma County from Italy, purchased the property and planted the vineyard in the early 1900’s. Norma (Pagani) Amantite still lives in the old farmhouse amidst the vines and her son Dino tends to the vineyard. In addition to Ridge the fruit goes to Bedrock, Seghesio, Biale and Carlisle.
Crimson in color. 15% ABV. 83% Zinfandel, 10% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah. Sublime nose of red fruits, anise, cocoa and pepper. Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Packed with bright, juicy red fruits. Cherry, raspberry, spiced plums and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Very drinkable Ridge Pagani but not on par with recent vintages including the 18-20. Best over the next several years.
My rating: 91 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.