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 Ridge entrance [1]

Here is the introduction to a recent Ridge article: Without question, Ridge consistently produces some of the best red wines in California. They have been doing it for over 50 years and have a record that is unmatched by anyone in the state. (To read that article, the history of Ridge Vineyards, and links to other articles click here [2]).

The Spring releases are just out and as usual they are stunning with the 2012 Cabernet Estate being a real tour de force. Don’t miss these wines. As has been the case for the entire history of Ridge Vineyards, the wines are made in a traditional and non manipulative way. And, don’t forget the fact that Ridge Vineyards is the leader in ingredient labeling. Here is exactly what you will find on the back label of almost every bottle of Ridge wine: Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective SO2

This is an assurance of traditional winemaking. It is also something that every wine drinker should be paying attention to. If you care about what is in your food, you should also care about what is in your wine. And, if you knew what is in many wines you would be shocked! (To read my article Caution! What’s In Your Wine? about ingredient labeling, wine manipulation, and ingredients that are being added to wine click here [3]).

Ridge spring releases [4]

2013 Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay Estate
There were 2,000 cases of this wine produced. It is light yellow in color with a faint golden hue and has a subtle perfume with faint floral and citrus nuances and a touch of vanilla. With air the wine opens to show a honeyed and faintly tropical quality. Elegant and very pure with lovely balance, this is a Chardonnay that is rich yet very harmonious. Hints of tropical fruit and citrus are accented by a bright crispness and the wine really opens with air. This is a wine to decant for early consumption and it should repay several years of bottle age – Outstanding.   $50

2012 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Estate
This is simply an incredible Cabernet that will totally eclipse most other Cabernets priced well into the triple digits. The production was 3,000 cases and it is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot from the Monte Bello Estate. The color is dark and the wine has a stunning perfume showing cassis and mulberry with exotic nuances and a hint of cedar. On the palate there is a myriad of black fruits and a complex exotic tinge with a faint spiciness. The fruit is very pure and the wine is beautifully balanced showing 13.5% alcohol. Lush and rounded with great depth and richness, this Cabernet is precocious and offers great early appeal. But, make no mistake, the impeccable balance and seamless texture holds the promise of a real cellar treasure over the course of the next few decades. I was blown away and immediately placed my order. Trust me, every Cabernet lover should follow my example and have some of this wine in the cellar – Extraordinary.   $50

2012 Ridge Vineyards Merlot Estate
Made from 100% Merlot from the Monte Bello Estate there were 1,400 cases of this wine produced. It has a dark color and a deep blackberry perfume with a floral nuance and hints of spice. Lush, rounded, and supple with lots of fruit and well integrated tannins this wine is balanced and shows 13.5% alcohol. It should age beautifully and improve over the next 5-10 years and keep well beyond – Outstanding.   $50

2013 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville
So what else is new? This is yet another great Geyserville. It is a wine that I have bought every year for decades. The wine ages beautifully and consistently represents one of the very best values of any California red wine. The vines in Geyserville are very old and this year’s wine consists of 73% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 9% Petite Sirah, and 1% Mataro (Mouvèdre). The production was 10,500 cases. With a dark color showing a purple hue, the wine has an intense perfume of black fruits tinged with spice. Lush, rich, and rounded with great balance and tons of fruit this Geyserville really delivers. It is classic Geyserville that will improve over many years and last for many decades – Outstanding Plus.     $38

2013 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles
This 100% Zinfandel comes from old vine grapes grown on the Benito Dusi Ranch. It typically is a full throttle Zinfandel with intense fruit and richness. This 2013 which produced 3,750 cases is no exception. With 14.8% alcohol the wine still maintains a freshness and balance that accentuates the rich briary tinged fruit. Supple with lush fruit this is a great example of an intense Zinfandel that is harmonious and can be enjoyed now or for many years into the future – Outstanding.   $30

2013 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel East Bench
This wine is 100% Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. There were 5,750 cases produced. Occasionally Ridge adds something extra to their wines. It can be water as it was in this case. The 1.6% water addition was made to balance the wine and keep the alcohol at 14.9%. Make no mistake, this is a big intense Zinfandel that shows a dark color and a lovely perfume that is plummy, briary, and cedary. It is balanced and has layers of briary tinged black fruit and is very flavorful and rounded. Delicious to drink now the wine also has the structure to improve over the next several years – Highly Recommended Plus.   $28

Ridge Monte Bello Vineyard [5]