The spring releases from Ridge Vineyards are now here. There are four red wines and one white wine with four wines from the 2016 vintage and one wine from the 2015 vintage. As usual, the wines are very impressive. Notes on these spring releases are listed below and are followed by information on wine ingredient labeling and links to all my other Ridge Vineyards articles. Every wine lover should know Ridge Vineyards. The quality and consistency is simply amazing.
RIDGE VINEYARDS 2018 SPRING RELEASE TASTING NOTES
2016 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville
The 2016 vintage produced 10,000 cases of this wine as compared with 9000 cases in 2015. For over 50 years Ridge has been making Geyserville which is a field blend of several different varietals. Just recently Ridge was able to buy this vineyard from the owners who have been selling the fruit to Ridge for all these years. The average age of vines here is about 50 years with the oldest vines more than 125 years old. The vineyard is mostly Zinfandel with some Carignane and lesser amounts of Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, and Mataro. Geyserville is consistently a gorgeous wine that will keep for decades. This 51st vintage bottling is no exception. And, if I were to choose one great red California wine that year in and year out delivers the best bang for the buck Geyserville would be at the top of my list.
This 2016 Geyserville is comprised of 73% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, and 3% Alicante Bouchet. Consistently Geyserville is a balanced flavorful wine that can be enjoyed young or cellared for a very long time. With a deep color this wine has a great perfume of blackberry fruit with a hint of spice and a faint exotic tinge. On the palate, it is lush with a firm underlying structure and shows well integrated tannins with lots of exotic spice tinged fruit. Very flavorful and appealing now for the fruit, this 2016 Geyserville will evolve and soften over the next 10-20 years and keep well beyond. For me, Geyserville is a California classic that I buy every year. And, in today’s wine market, it continues to represent very good value – Outstanding Plus. $44
2016 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles Zinfandel
This wine is made from the historic Dusi Ranch Zinfandel vineyard in Paso Robles. Ridge’s first wine from Dusi Ranch was in 1967. The vines here are all Zinfandel and over 85 years old. Today the vineyard is farmed by the second generation of the Dusi family. This is yet another great example of the long term benefits of a coordinated effort between the farmers and the wine makers. Zinfandel is unique to California. And, the old Zinfandels from Paso Robles are legendary. But a lot of the old vineyards disappeared during prohibition. Dusi is one of the survivors. The wines are characteristically very rich and intense. Year after year, this Zinfandel is a shining example of the quality of old vine Zinfandel fruit. The 2016 is no exception. Production returned to normal in 2016 after a wet winter and 4,000 cases were produced as compared with only 2000 cases in 2015. The wine is dark in color and has a lovely perfume of plum and blackberry fruit with faint hints of spice and chocolate. Rich and full with soft underlying tannins, the flavors show a myriad of black fruits with faint hints of chocolate and spice. The wine was impressive when first opened, but tasted over several days it continued to soften and become even more expressive. Yet another classic California Zinfandel, this Dusi Ranch bottling continues to offer great value – Outstanding/Outstanding Plus. $35
2016 Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay Estate
Recent vintages of Ridge’s estate Chardonnay have been especially good showing balance, flavor, and complexity. This 2016 continues the trend. The production was 2500 cases as compared with 1700 in 2015. Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue this Chardonnay has a stunning floral perfume with faint exotic tinges and hints of citrus. Very flavorful and lush with a distinct underlying crispness, the wine has a nice exotic complexity intermingled with very pure citrus tinged fruit and a long crisp finish. Beautifully balanced the wine is harmonious and very well defined. Tasted over several days, this Chardonnay has great early appeal, but also should evolve over the next few years and keep well beyond – Outstanding Plus. $55
2016 Ridge Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel
This is the 11th vintage for this wine which has been made as a single-site Zinfandel since 2006. The estate owned vineyards are situated on the high bench land that overlooks the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma from the east. After two short crops the vineyard set a full crop in 2016. The production in 2016 was 6000 cases compared with 5000 cases in 2015. The wine has a deep color with a lovely berry perfume accented by an underlying floral briary note. On the palate, it has delicious boysenberry tinged fruit with a briary nuance and a tinge of spice. With very pure and distinctive fruit the wine is delicious now, but will blossom with a few years bottle age. Tasted over several days the wine opened and became more expressive. If you drink it now I would recommend decanting before serving – Outstanding. $32
2015 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
The production of this wine was only 3000 cases as compared with 6000 cases for the 2014. This is a WOW wine that is blended with 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. The production is 3000 cases as compared with 6000 cases for the 2014. This Estate Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark color and a deep perfume showing cassis and plum fruit with hints of cedar and a faint spice nuance. Lush and rounded with opulent fruit the wine has impeccable balance with a well-defined underlying structure and soft tannins. No question that this is a great Cabernet that will evolve and gain even more complexity over the next 20 or more years. And, in today’s Cabernet market this is a bargain – Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary. $60
WINE INGREDIENT LABELING
All of the wines reviewed here, like all Ridge wines, have all ingredients disclosed on the back label as shown below:
Ingredient labeling means that everything is always transparent with Ridge. Given the uncertainty as to how wines are being made today (click to read my articles What Is Wine? and Caution! What’s In Your Wine ) this is crucial information for every consumer to consider. Ridge Vineyards is one of only 2 wineries in California to list ingredients on the back label (the other is Bonny Doon Vineyard). Here is what Ridge had to say when they began adding ingredients to their back labels:
Why is Ridge adding ingredients to its back labels?
At Ridge we call our approach to winemaking “pre-industrial”. We believe that for anyone attempting to make fine wine, modern additives and invasive processing limit true quality and do not allow the distinctive character of a fine vineyard to determine the character of the wine.
Ridge is adding to its labels a list of actions and ingredients to demonstrate how little intervention is necessary to produce a fine, terroir-driven wine from distinctive fruit. Although an ingredient list is not required by the TTB, if a winery chooses to add a list of ingredients to its back label it must list ALL ingredients.
(Click to read ATTENTION ALL WINE CONSUMERS: WINE INGREDIENT LABELING IS HERE!  from May 2013 which announced Ridge’s first label with ingredient labeling.)
LINKS TO ALL RIDGE ARTICLES
RIDGE VINEYARDS – FALL 2017 RELEASES & MORE! 
A MONTE BELLO TOAST TO PAUL DRAPER 
OLD RIDGE VINEYARDS MONTE BELLO CABERNETS 
RIDGE VINEYARDS – SPRING 2016 RELEASES 
RIDGE VINEYARDS – SPRING 2015 RELEASES 
RIDGE VINEYARDS AND TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD 
RIDGE VINEYARDS 
WORLD CLASS CENTRAL COAST WINERIES 
RIDGE VINEYARDS 
RIDGE VINEYARDS – UNCOMPRISING QUALITY 
RIDGE VINEYARDS MONTE BELLO RETROSPECTIVE DINNER