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RIDGE VINEYARDS – FALL 2017 RELEASES & MORE!

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As usual, the new Ridge releases are terrific. I tasted the wines over a period of several days and found all of the wines to be very expressive. They are balanced and harmonious just as you would expect from Ridge.  Below are notes on the 5 fall releases. Don’t miss them! Following the notes are links to earlier Ridge articles where you will find lots of background information on Ridge and many notes on young and old Ridge wines.

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2014 Ridge Monte Bello
The production of this wine is 5,000 cases made from 92 tons of grapes grown on just over 65 acres. It is made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petite Verdot. This is an elegant fruit driven Mont Bello with great purity and balance. I had one opportunity to taste the wine just before the final blend was made. At that time I made the following observation: The wine has gorgeous fruit and great intensity with seemingly softer tannins than the 2012 and 2013. It is very flavorful with beautiful structure and balance and has great length on the palate  (to read the entire article click here [3]). Now after bottling this 2014 has structure and balance combined with great elegance. The drought years have produced classic Monte Bellos and this 2014 is a continuation of the trend. It has a dark color and a stunning fruit driven perfume of blackberry and plum with faint spice and cedar notes. A seamless Monte Bello with great definition and flavor, the wine is already showing its obvious charm. The contrast with the 2013 speaks to subtle differences year to year in Monte Bello vintages. Whereas the 2013 is larger scaled, the 2014 is more refined. And, as should be expected, Monte Bello may be a bit different year to year, but it is always great. This 2014 is simply the latest in a long line of great Monte Bellos with many more to come. Ridge Monte Bello is a wine that you can buy with great confidence every year just as I have been doing for over 4o years. Over time it just keeps getting better and better  –  Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary.      $200

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2015 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County
There were 9,750 cases of this wine produced. Dark in color with a deep perfume showing hints of olallieberry, floral spice, and cedar, this Zinfandel is flavorful and refined in a claret style. It is made with 74% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, and 8% Carignane. With lots of fruit and flavor and showing a good underlying structure the wine is rich yet balanced and harmonious. While very accessible and drinking well now, it will improve with age and evolve over a decade or more – Outstanding.       $40

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2015 Ridge Lytton Estate Petite Sirah Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County
For my money, Petite Sirah may be California’s most under rated varietal. In the early years Petite Sirah was the most widely planted varietal in the interplanted “Zinfandel” vineyards of the late 19th century. More recently it has shown up as a varietal. There are some times when Petite Sirah can be a bit closed or tannic in the beginning, but with age it blossoms into something very special. Ridge has been making Petite Sirah for nearly 50 years. They know how to deal with the grape to make a wine of great intensity and balance. Starting with a Petite Sirah from Mendocino in 1970, Ridge moved on to making Petite Sirah from York Creek beginning in 1971. (The 1971 is legendary and you can read my note on this extraordinary wine by clicking here [6]). From 1971 to 1979 the Ridge York Creek Petite Sirah was made from the oldest vines (planted in 1911) in the Devils Hill section of the York Creek Vineyard which is located in the Spring Mountain district of the Napa Valley. In addition to Petite Sirahs from York Creek, Ridge also worked with old vines Petite Sirah in the Geyserville vineyards as well as in the Lytton Springs vineyards. After the purchase of the original Lytton Springs vineyards in the 1990s Ridge replanted the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. By 2002 there was an abundance of Petite Sirah and the first limited quantity bottling of Lytton Estate Petite Sirah was made and sold only from the winery. The 2014 was proclaimed by winemaker John Olney as one of the most elegant ever produced by Ridge and I fully agree (to read the note on that wine click here [7]).
This 2015 Petite Sirah is again stunning. There were 2000 cases produced from 100% Petite Sirah grapes. The wine is dark in color and has a deep blackberry perfume with faint floral spice notes. Rich and full with great intensity and flavor, it has well integrated tannins and is loaded with fruit. Time will yield even more complexity and the wine has decades of life ahead – Outstanding/Outstanding Plus.     $37
 

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2015 Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
The vines at Pagani Ranch date back to the 1890–1916 period with very little inter planting since. Year after year this is one of my very favorite Zinfandels (which I believe are underrated by most wine drinkers). I love Pagani Ranch for its lushness and exotic nuances. This vintage yielded 4,500 cases and consists of 83% Zinfandel blended with 10% Alicante Bouchet and 7% Petite Sirah. The 2015 is a full throttle Pagani Ranch with 4.3% water addition and 15% alcohol. Yet it is  beautifully balanced without any heaviness, heat, or over ripeness. (Remember things are always transparent with Ridge as all ingredients are disclosed on every back label as shown below. And to read about ingredient labeling click here [9] and to read another related article Caution! What’s In Your Wine which includes quotes from Paul Draper click here [10]).

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The 2015 Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel color is dark and the wine has an exotic perfume with tinges of plum, spice, and cedar. On the palate, it is intense, rich, full and supple  with  of layers of fruit and exotic tinges. A sensuous wine to be sure, this Pagani Ranch has irresistible early appeal yet will age effortlessly for many years. If you love red wines and have yet to try a Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel all I can say is “What are you waiting for?” This is simply a stunning example of Pagani Ranch – Outstanding Plus.       $40

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2015 Ridge Ponzo Vineyard Russian River Valley
This Zinfandel is made with 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah with 2,000 cases produced. The wine is dark in color and has a deep perfume with tinges of berries and plums with a very faint exotic tinge. It has lots of fruit with a nice suppleness yet retains the underlying acidity which gives the wine lift and adds to its appeal. This vintage of Ponzo Zinfandel is particularly forward with lots of early charm yet it will evolve and drink beautifully for many years into the future – Outstanding.    $35

Ridge Eric, Paul, and Bodhi [13]Eric, Paul, and Bodhi

LINKS TO OTHER RIDGE VINEYARDS ARTICLES

12/15/09
RIDGE VINEYARDS MONTE BELLO RETROSPECTIVE DINNER [14]  

8/17/11
RIDGE VINEYARDS – UNCOMPRISING QUALITY [15]

10/19 12
RIDGE VINEYARDS [16]  

1/19/14
WORLD CLASS CENTRAL COAST WINERIES [17]

5/4/15
RIDGE VINEYARDS – SPRING 2015 RELEASES [18]   

  [17]5/15/14
RIDGE VINEYARDS AND TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD  [19]

9/7/14
RIDGE VINEYARDS [20]

5/31/16
RIDGE VINEYARDS – SPRING 2016 RELEASES [21]  

6/22/16
OLD RIDGE VINEYARDS MONTE BELLO CABERNETS [22]  

7/19/16
A MONTE BELLO TOAST TO PAUL DRAPER  [23]

9/16/16
RIDGE VINEYARDS: SUPERB NEW RELEASES & WINE INGREDIENT LABELING [7]  

6/16/17
RIDGE VINEYARDS – NEW RELEASES, A SPECIAL CHARITY EVENT FEATURING RIDGE WINES, & NOTES ON THREE GREAT OLD RIDGE WINES [24]

 

Ridge Monte Bello Vineyard [25]