Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Paul Draper recently retired and John Olney is making the wines at Lytton Springs and Eric Baugher at Monte Bello. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.
Ridge sent me samples of recently released Zins that are available via their, member only, Advanced Tasting Program (ATP).
2018 Ridge Zinfandel Rancho Lambert Vineyard – Dark crimson in color. 15% ABV. 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah. Gorgeous nose of black fruits, earth and pepper. Medium body with great acidity. Dark fruited, Claret style Zinfandel. Black cherry, black raspberry, plums and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Super Zinfandel from young vines in the heart of Dry Creek Valley. Best over the next 3-5 years. My rating: 92 points.
2017 Ridge Zinfandel Hooker Creek Vineyard – Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. 94% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah and 2% Alicante Bouschet. From 127 year old vines planted near Hooker Creek north of Glen Ellen. Savory nose of black fruits, plums, earth and pepper. Medium body with ample acidity. Rustic, Claret style Zinfandel. Blackberry, black cherry, bittersweet chocolate and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish with gritty tannins. Unique Zinfandel that will age well. Best over the next 4-7 years. My rating: 91 points.
2018 Ridge Zinfandel Guadagni Vineyard – Dark purple in color. 14.9% ABV. 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Sirah. From century old vines in Dry Creek Valley. Glorious nose of red and black fruits, citrus and earth. Medium to full bodied with perfect acidity. Lush and bursting with fruits. Blackberry liqueur, raspberry and blood orange on the palate. The finish is long and supple. Delicious Zinfandel. Best over the next 2-4 years. My rating: 93 points.
You will need to be a member of the Ridge ATP to purchase these wines.
The entire Ridge lineup is available at the winery and for the most part at retail as well. Exceptional wines that are fairly priced, well crafted and easy to find. Everyone is always looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to wine. Sometimes it pays to stick with the tried and true. There is so much to like here.