Forbes celebrates Ridge’s Natural Practices for Fine Wine


November 2022

Following our 60th-anniversary celebration in New York, Forbes published the following article written by wine writer and storyteller Catherine Todd. Hosted by Head Winemaker John Olney and Senior Vice President of Vineyards David Gates, the event highlighted wines from each of the past six decades, and we told the stories that made our journey to 60 years so special.

A selection of wines served at our 60th anniversary tasting in New York

Todd’s article encapsulates the winery’s beginning and the pillars on which Ridge Vineyards stands today: organic and regenerative farming practices, pre-industrial winemaking techniques, and transparent ingredient labeling.

Todd notes, “His philosophy in showing the world what is in the bottle, unadulterated, is to stand behind the greatness of his vineyards. And 60 years after the first official vintage of Ridge Vineyards, it is finally getting wider recognition for being one of the first to push for complete transparency in the wine world.”

We are honored and humbled to have a far-reaching community celebrating this milestone with us, whether in person or in spirit. Read on for Todd’s tasting notes for each of the wines served.

The Wines

2012 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello Chardonnay: “Ripe golden apples and honeysuckle with a smoky minerality with hints of nutmeg with good concentration balanced by a nimble energy.”

2006 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello Chardonnay: “Lots of chalky minerality right off the bat with lemon custard and graham cracker flavors that had a creamy yet textured body with bright acidity and lots of energy on the finish.”

2005 Ridge Vineyards, Geyserville from 3-Liter bottle: “An open and generous nose with lush red cherries and baking spices intermixed with star anise and a gracefully broad body with fleshy fruit that has lots of energy on the finish.”

1999 Ridge Vineyards, Geyserville from 3-Liter: “Broken earth with subtle hints of raspberries and rhubarb with white pepper and poppy seeds and silky tannins and refreshing acidity.”

2005 Ridge Vineyards, Lytton Springs from 3-Liter: “Blackcurrant fruit with notes of licorice and dried herbs with structured tannins that give lift to the concentrated fruit.”

1999 Ridge Vineyards, Lytton Springs from 3-Liter: “This shows how Ridge’s Zinfandel blends can age beautifully with plenty of supple black cherry fruit with added layers of black pepper and crushed rock that has tannins with big shoulders balanced by plush black fruit on the mid-palate; a harmonious wine.”

2013 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello: “80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. Ridge Vineyards usually re-releases their Monte Bello wines again onto the market after ten years, and so this 2013 is currently available on the market. This is a stunning wine, from the multi-faceted aromas and flavors of cassis, espresso, truffles and a stony minerality with plush texture that has firm tannins with racy acidity giving vitality to the intensely concentrated fruit along the extraordinarily long finish. Wow!”

2005 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello from Magnum: “70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Redcurrant preserves with cocoa powder and upheaved earth with hints of fresh sage and slightly firm tannins that has lots of juicy fruit on the palate.”

1996 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello from Magnum: “80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot. A lovely aromatic nose that is still so vibrant with boysenberry and black raspberry with allspice in the background that has intense flavors on the palate with lots of focused energy.”

1988 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello from Magnum: “John Olney said that this wine does have a bit of Brettanomyces (Brett) as it was a learning process of how to work naturally without unwanted yeasts converting into sometimes off-putting aromas during fermentation. But Brett can range in qualities from barnyard to gamey notes and this wine has a hint of grilled pork ribs, which is an aroma loved by some people and so the Brett may not be an issue for some, adding layers of smoldering earth, brambly fruit and tree bark with a textured body.”

1977 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello from Magnum: “Smoky note that is reminiscent of lit charcoal, wild berries and graphite with blueberry scones and bacon fat with a linear body with fierce energy and lift on the finish.”

1964 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello: “100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh tobacco leaf and hints of tar with layers of sandalwood, cigar box and forest floor in the background that has well-integrated tannins and marked acidity, giving a mouthwatering finish.”

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