I knew the view was great, but this time I literally had my breath taken away on a sunny September morning. Needless to say, the wines were even more spectacular than the views. If you are in Sonoma, stopping by the Lytton Springs tasting room in the gorgeous Dry Creek Valley is a must. One of the truly iconic California wineries, Ridge Vineyards was first founded in 1962.
The stunning new lineup of Ridge wines impresses. Look for their 2014 Chardonnay (WWB, 93) a wine that impresses for the price and shows incredible range and complexity. Also decadent was their 2012 ‘Mill’ Zinfandel (WWB, 94) which contains 25% Petite Sirah and is hedonistic and lovely. Finally, their new release 2013 ‘Monte Bello’ (WWB, 95), the wine that put Ridge on the map, should not be touched for at least a couple of years, but is a slumbering heavyhitter of a wine that shows gobs of fruit and massive structure. Tightly would, the 2013 ‘Monte Bello’ is one for the cellar. Learn more about this historic winery at ridgewine.com Here are the amazing new release wines from Ridge Vineyards.
2014 Ridge Chardonnay- This impressive wine begins with aromatics of poached pear, dill, heavy whipping cream and a touch of crème brulee. There are dense flavors of Pazzaz apple, vanilla cream and crème brulee that sit alongside brisk minerality. This is just an awesome value at this price point. Drink 2016-2023- 93
2012 Ridge ‘Buchignani Ranch’ Zinfandel- This wine begins with aromatics of red cherry, dill, sage, and hints of sassafras. This leads to flavors of mint, red cherry, red raspberry and lithe minerality. This shows a wonderful purity of fruit, as this poised Zin is done in the Bordelaise style. Drink 2016-2025- 93
2012 Ridge ‘Mill’ Zinfandel- This excellent Zin has 25% Petite Sirah blended in. The wine has lovely weight and texture, as the wine glides through the mid-palate with flavors of red cherry, sagebrush, wild blackberry and black plum. Like the other Ridge Zins the structure of this wine is stunning. There is some wonderful aging potential with this expressive Zinfandel. Drink 2016-2025- 94
2014 Ridge ‘Ponzo’ Zinfandel- This excellent wine begins with aromatics of red cherry, dill, sage, and red raspberry, showing some nice feminine characteristics. The wine has flavors of red cherry, raspberry, pomegranate seed and suggestions of wild blackberry jam. Focused, with a striking mineral streak, this wine will age gracefully into the next decade. Drink 2016-2024- 93
2014 Ridge ‘Pagnani Ranch’ Zinfandel- This Zinfandel is sourced from a 30 acre vineyard which was planted in 1900. This aged site has become one of the state’s premier sites for old vine Zin. The wine begins with aromatics of prune, red cherry and spicebox with black tea. There are dense flavors of red cherry, dill, sage and black tea. Herbaceous and complex, this will cellar beautifully for ten years. Drink 2016-2025- 92
2014 Ridge ‘Geyserville’ Red Wine- This awesome blend of 60% Zinfandel, 24% Carignane, 12% Petit Sirah and 4% Mataro is one of a kind. The wine has dense aromatics of black cherry, black tea, dill, red raspberry, blackberry pie and milk chocolate. There are bold flavors of black cherry, violets, crème de cassis and milk chocolate. Beautifully textured and absolutely irresistible right now, this wine shows some serious weight and grip on the mid-palate. Drink 2016-2028- 93
2014 Ridge ‘Lytton Springs’ Zinfandel- This is sourced from their Sonoma property that overlooks the Dry Creek Valley. The wine begins with aromatics of prune, black plum, red cherry with a spicy, nutmeg component at the back end. There are rich flavors of black tea, sage, black cherry, eucalyptus and hints of cranberry that sit alongside some gritty tannins. This needs another year to soften but shows some wonderful potential at this juncture. Drink 2017-2028- 93
2013 Ridge ‘Estate’ Cabernet – One of the fantastic bottlings that I have encountered over the years, this wine sources from some Monte Bello fruit that was not chosen in their higher end bottling. The resultant wine begins with aromas of black tea, anise, blackberry cobbler, red cherry, mint and sagebrush accents. There are rich flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, mint, mocha and hints of black tea. Delicious and light on its feet, this is a long-ager. Drink 2017-2030- 93
2013 Ridge ‘Monte Bello’ Cabernet- A hedonistic monster that somehow shows wonderful restraint, the 2013 ‘Monte Bello’ Cabernet confirms why it commands a cult following. The wine begins with dense aromas of black tea, anise, crème de cassis and coffee grounds. There are rich flavors of mocha, dill, anise, casssi and hints of milk chocolate. Polished, lithe and moderately tannic right now, this is best enjoyed in a few years. This is literally a slumbering giant. Drink 2018-2035- 95