The summer issue of Wine & Spirits features great scores for six RIDGE wines:
“The founding partners at Ridge purchased the Monte Bello Winery from Leo and Evelyn Trentadue, who also farmed some of the oldest surviving vines in Sonoma County at their ranch on the Alexander Valley floor near Geyserville. The Old Patch, planted in the 1880s, has provided the base of the blend for Ridge’s single-vineyard wine since 1966. In 2020, it was harvested just as the first fires broke out; generations of vines at the Trentadue’s ranch provided 28 different lots, with John Olney selecting 20 for this wine. He finds that carignan, which makes up 20 percent of the mixed planting (along with small amounts of petite sirah, alicante bouschet and mataro), provides the acidity to refresh the zinfandel, which accounts for 69 percent of the vines. The early harvest produced a ripe, rich Geyserville with racy energy. The dark blueberry flavors are layered with red cherry, their seemingly weightless concentration sustained in a sleek, clean and graceful impression that lasts. A great 2020.” -J.G.
“The site of an abandoned zinfandel vineyard from the 19th century, East Bench is close to Lytton Springs, at the border between the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. [VP of Vineyard Operations, David] Gates farms the vineyard as if it were one of the historic sites, the vines head trained and spur pruned. John Olney, now COO and head winemaker at Ridge, has been in charge at Lytton Springs since this project began. The vines are now hitting their stride, this wine’s grapes harvested just as the fires began in 2020, their fruit providing what may be the most beautiful East Bench Zinfandel yet. The wine feels completely ripe, a cool well of fruit surrounded by earthen depth of tannins. Over the course of several days, the wine yields flavors of blueberries, roses and savory herbs, the detail in the tannins suggesting a long life ahead.” -J.G.
“A blend of 47% carignane, 29% zinfandel and 24% mataro, this bottling seems to capture the ripeness of all three varieties at their peak expressions. Grown at Contra Costa’s famed old vineyard in Antioch, it develops a scent of raspberries and bramble, a hint of spice and cured meat, a vibrant freshness that leaps out of the glass, juicy and highly structured at once, with an effusive red berry flavor that is the epitome of old-vine mixed-black balance and charm.” -P.J.C.
“The Seghesio family purchased this vineyard in 1896, now 40 acres bridging the Alexander and Russian River valleys. The original block, probably planted in 1892, is a mix of zinfandel (65 percent), petite sirah (26) and alicante bouschet (9), providing the fruit for Ridge’s bottling. It’s a big, black wine when first poured, with heady fruit, some orange zest volatility and a heavy drape of tannins. Come back to it a day later and the wine’s fullness has transformed into red fruit, smooth and savory, integrating its structure and alcohol into the gentle grace of zin.” -J.G.
“Stan Buchignani’s grandfather planted the oldest carignane vines on his ranch in 1927; his father followed up with another parcel in the early 1950s. The vines rise up a hillside on the western edge of the Alexander Valley, ripening their fruit to inky purple, with skin tannins that are chewy and thick but not heavy. “If you’re looking for something to go with meat that’s not as heavy as cabernet,” said Aussie wine collector David Hawkins, “this is dry in style, like an Austrian zweigelt.” A day later, the tannins had lightened up, the bright purple wine turning racy.” -J.G.
“This floral wine, scented with rose petals, tobacco and green herb, grows on benchlands in the Lytton West vineyard. It needs cellar time for the green notes to integrate with the wine’s meaty savor and begins to head in that direction with a day of air.” -J.G.
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