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RIDGE VINEYARDS: GREAT RECENT RELEASES

 

 

For over 50 years Ridge Vineyard has been making some of the best wines in California. And since the 1960s I have been buying, drinking, and cellaring them each year. The result is that I have more wines from Ridge Vineyards in my cellar than I have from any other producer. The wines have great longevity and I have never had one that was in decline. Paul Draper joined the founding partners as winemaker in 1969 and quickly took the wines to new heights. For decades up to his retirement in 2016, Paul produced consistently great wines. In the mid-1990s he was joined by Eric Braugher and John Olney. Eric joined Paul in 1994 and has been Vice President and Winemaker of the Monte Bello winery since 2001. And upon Paul’s retirement, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker for the Monte Bello Winery. John Olney, who joined Ridge in 1996, has also been Vice President and Winemaker of the Lytton Springs Winery since 2001. Upon Paul’s retirement, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker for the Lytton Springs Winery. Eric and John have done amazing jobs and the wines continue to set new standards of excellence. These recent releases are great examples. Don’t miss them!

 

 

Spring Releases

The spring releases include the 2018 Estate Chardonnay which I believe is one of the best Ridge Chardonnays ever and five stunning 2018 red wines including a very great 2018 Geyserville as well as three wonderful Zinfandel based wine from the great 2018 vintage, and the lovely 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a great line up of wines that would make a valued addition to any cellar. Don’t miss them!

2018 Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay
Over the years the Ridge Chardonnays have evolved as increasingly refined and complex. This latest 2018 release may be the best ever. Very light yellow in color the wine has a great perfume with hints of honeysuckle and citrus with a very faint spice nuance. Beautifully balanced and refined the wine exhibits floral, citrus, and pear nuances with a kiss of spice and is very flavorful and long on the palate. Bravo! This is an absolutely delicious California Chardonnay – Extraordinary.         $55          2,500 cases produced

2017 Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Made with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot this is a beautifully crafted Cabernet that is lovely to drink now and will age effortlessly for many years to come.  Very dark in color it has a deep perfume of cassis and mulberry with faint cedar and spice undertones. With a myriad of cedar tinged black fruit flavors on the palate, it is beautifully balanced and flavorful. This gorgeous Cabernet is very accessible now but will evolve over many years into the future – Outstanding Plus.     $65         4,250 cases produced

2018 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Alexander Valley Sonoma County
Geyserville is one of my favorite red wines from Ridge that I have been buying every year since I can remember. It drinks beautifully young and ages gracefully for a very long time. Recently I enjoyed two Geyservilles from the early 90s that were delicious. And with that in mind, I think that this 2018 is one of the best Geyservilles ever. It is made with 68% Zinfandel, 20% Carignane, 10% Petite Sirah, and 2% Alicante Bouchet and is very dark in color with a stunning perfume of blackberry, cassis, and plum with a touch of spice. On the palate, it is brimming with fruit and very concentrated and very flavorful, Winemaker Eric Braugher describes the wine as “sensuous” and I think this is the perfect one-word description for this immensely appealing Geyserville. This is certainly a top pick for top red wine value of the year. Don’t miss it – Extraordinary.         $45         9,900 cases produced

2018 Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys Sonoma County
This wine is made with 70% Zinfandel, 14% Petite Sirah, 12% Carignane, and 4% Mataro. Dark in color with a deep floral plum tinged perfume the wine has loads of plum and blackberry fruit and is very lush and flavorful. Very forward and delicious this wine is an absolute pleasure to drink now. And it is particularly appealing served at very cool cellar temperature of around 50 degrees – Outstanding Plus.      $30       25,000 cases produced

2018 Ridge Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel Dry Creek
Made with 100% Zinfandel this wine has a dark color and a deep blackberry perfume with a floral tinge. With great spice-tinged blackberry fruit on the palate it is beautifully balanced with a lot of flavor and elegance. This is a really delicious Claret styled Zinfandel – Outstanding Plus.
$32       6.250 cases produced

2018 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles Zinfandel Benito Dusi Ranch
Ridge has been making this Zinfandel for many years and I have tasted nearly all of them. And, having said that, this is the best one I can remember tasting and certainly one of the best balanced and complex. Dark in color with a great exotic perfume the wine is supple, lush, and flavorful with layers of exotic black fruits showing just a tinge of spice. No question this is a very great Dusi Ranch Zinfandel with tremendous depth of supple exotic tinged fruit that is a pleasure to drink now and should age beautifully over the next several years – Outstanding Plus.      $35
5,500 cases produced

ATP Releases

Since 1977, the Advance Tasting Program (ATP) provides members the exclusive opportunity to receive very limited, single-vineyard wines only available direct from the winery. Old-vine field blend zinfandels and Rhone varietals (syrah, grenache & carignane) remain our primary focus. Each ATP selection reflects Ridge’s winemaking style, emphasizing the distinctive qualities of the vineyards geographic location, as well as grape variety.To learn more and inquire about joining the ATP program click here [1] ADD LINK https://www.ridgewine.com/wine-club-membership/membership-options/advance-tasting-program/ [1]

  

The current releases include two predominately Zinfandel based wines and one predominately Syrah-based wine. They are, of course, different but all share one thing in common – they are delicious.  

2018 Ridge Vineyards Rockpile Zinfandel Botticelli Vineyard Sonoma County ATP
This wine is made with 88% Zinfandel, and 12% Petite Sirah. It is dark in color and  has a deep cherry-berry perfume with floral nuances and a kiss of spice. On the palate, the wine has lots of cherry-berry fruit with floral spice undertones and is lush, rounded, and supple. This is a really delicious Zinfandel with great early appeal – Outstanding Plus.    $36

2017 Ridge Vineyards Syrah Grenache Mataro Lytton Estate Vineyard Sonoma County  ATP
This wine is made with 62% Syrah, 27% Grenache, and 11% Mataro. It has a very dark color and a lovely exotic tinged perfume. With great intensity of black fruits on the palate, it is full-bodied , rich, and very flavorful. The balance is a match of intensity with harmony and elegance. Lovely now this wine should evolve over many years into the future – Outstanding Plus.      $38

2016 Ridge Vineyards Mazzoni Home Ranch Alexander Valley Sonoma County ATP
This wine is made with 59% Zinfandel, 36% Carignane, and 5% Petite Sirah and shows a lovely perfume of blackberry fruit with cedar spice nuances and a faint exotic tinge. Ful- bodied and flavorful with lots of fruit it is balanced and very accessible now yet it should keep for many years going forward – Outstanding Plus.    $36