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RIDGE VINEYARDS – SPRING 2016 RELEASES

Ridge entrance [1]

The spring releases from Ridge Vineyards are now on the market. And, true to form, the wines are terrific. Most of these wines I tasted on my last visit to Ridge (to read those notes as well as notes on other wines including wines tasted from barrel as well as background information on Ridge and links to all previous Ridge articles click here [2]). At the time of my visit last year the 2014s were still in barrel. The wines have lived up to their potential and represent the usual high quality that is typical of Ridge Vineyards wines. These are wines to buy!

2014 Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay
For the very early 2014 harvest the grapes for this Chardonnay were picked by taste. It is a wine that has a lot of early appeal and will be at its best over the next several years. The vintage produced 3500 cases. Light yellow in color the wine has a lovely perfume with floral tropical nuances, a tinge of citrus, and a kiss of vanilla. It has lots of fruit with subtle hints of pineapple, melon, citrus and a faint spice nuance. Rounded and lush with a nice underlying crispness this is a very stylistic Chardonnay – Outstanding.   $50

Ridge Vineyards some time ago adopted ingredient labeling (to read an article on that click here [3] and to read why this is important information that every wine consumer should know click here [4]).  Ridge and Bonny Doon Vineyard are the early adopters of ingredient labeling. One day many other wineries will follow.  Below is the back label from the 2014 Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay.

 

ridge back label [5]

 

2013 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

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The 2013 vintage produced 3250 cases representing a yield of about 1.1 tons per acre. The wine is made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabenet Franc and has 13.8% alcohol. This is a complex and wonderfully rich wine that represents good value in today’s Cabernet market. With a very dark color the wine has a lovely perfume showing a myriad of black fruits and tinges of spice and cedar. It is well structured with a firm backbone that is balanced by layers of fruit and lots of flavor that is long on the finish. This very impressive Cabernet should continue to improve for a decade or more and keep for many years beyond – Outstanding Plus$55

2013 Ridge Vineyards Merlot Estate
This vintage produced 1250 cases which is about 22 tons from 9 ½ acres. The wine is 100% Merlot and has 13.8% alcohol. The color is dark and there is a gorgeous plum-like perfume with hints of floral spice and cedar. Rounded with lots of fruit and a soft tannin underpinning additional bottle age will reveal additional complexity and a silky softness. This is a very impressive Merlot with a bright future ahead – Outstanding.   $50

ridge 14 geyserville [7]

2014 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville
Let me start by repeating what I said about Geyserville in my last article: What can be said about Geyserville? Well let’s start with the fact that Ridge has been making wine from this vineyard each year since 1966. And, for this entire period, there have been so many great Geyservilles it is hard to keep track. The wines age beautifully and, over time, develop a claret like character and complexity. It consistently is one of my favorite Ridge wines. I love to go into my cellar and pull out an old Geyserville. I am never disappointed. This 2014 looks to be yet another terrific Geyserville. Production was down 17% from 2013 and the wine is made from 60% Zinfandel, 24% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, and 4% Mataro (Mouvèdre) and has 14.6% alcohol. There were 9900 cases produced. The wine has a very dark color and a faintly exotic perfume with faint nuances of plums and spice with a floral, briary tinge. On the palate, it is rich, full, and concentrated with layers of fruit. There is a lot of depth and the wine has the balance and structure to age for many, many years and evolve into a great wine and a great Geyserville. This is a wine that gives a lot of bang for the buck. Don’t miss it – Outstanding/Outstanding Plus. $40

2014 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Paso Robles
This wine is made from low yielding old vine Zinfandel fruit grown on the Benito Dusi Ranch. As usual it is an impressive full throttle Zinfandel. The production was 4250 cases and the alcohol is 14.6%. With a very dark color showing a faint purple hue the wine has a lovely perfume of plums with a faintly briary exotic spice nuance. It is rich, round, and very flavorful with plummy fruit. Some additional bottle age should reveal additional complexity and round the wine out nicely – Highly Recommended Plus/Outstanding.   $32

2014 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel East Bench
From the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma the production of this 100% Zinfandel was 5750 cases and the alcohol is 14.9%. It is dark in color and shows a myriad of red and black fruits with a briary tinge and a very faint spice. Ripe, rich, and succulent there is lots of fruit with very good grip. This is a very flavorful Zinfandel with balanced tannins that should come together beautifully over the next several years – Highly Recommended Plus/Outstanding.   $30

2013 Ridge MB [8]

2013 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello
Also, the great 2013 Ridge Monte Bello is now released. And, although I did not re-taste it with the above wines, here is what I had to say about it in my December 2015 article Ridge Vineyards & The Drought Years 2012 – 2015 [9]: Always made from a selection of the best Monte Bello lots, 19 lots of 26 were selected for the 2013 Monte Bello including only 1 of Merlot. Representing yields of just over 1.2 tons per acre, the wine is made with 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. Is this the best young Monte Bello ever? Time will tell. But for now, out of all the great young Monte Bellos that I have tasted (and that is nearly all of them back into the late 60s) I don’t recall ever having tasted a young Monte Bello better than this. With 13.6% alcohol the wine has a very dark color and a great intense perfume with cassis and blackberry fruit accented by cedar and a faint exotic quality. Rich, concentrated, and lush, it is loaded with fruit that is complex and beguiling with an exotic nuance. The structure is there with well integrated tannins wrapped in layers of fruit. Already this Monte Bello shows incredible balance and exhibits great complexity. One can only imagine what a wine it will be as it starts to hit its stride in 10 years – Extraordinary Plus.

Make no mistake, this 2013 Monte Bello is destined to be one of the all-time greats. Every Cabernet lover should have some in the cellar. Monte Bello Cabernets continue to improve and evolve over decades. And a great way to buy Monte Bello Cabernets is to join the collectors club and be advised of releases and get discounts and other benefits (to get more information click here [10]). I have talked about the age-ability of  the Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernets many times over the last 40 or so years. But, just in case there is anyone out there who does not know how well the Monte Bello Cabernets age, I will follow up this article very soon with tasting notes on old Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernets. Stay tuned!

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