Ridge Vineyards was recently included in a Jancis Robinson article by Alder Yarrow on “Elevating Chardonnay in the Santa Cruz Mountains,” in which our 2017 Monte Bello Chardonnay, 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2017 Monte Bello were recommended.
The feature on Ridge Vineyards included the following snippet:
“Eight years after the end of Prohibition, a man named William Short purchased the abandoned Monte Bello winery and replanted several of its vineyard blocks to Cabernet Sauvignon, which were purchased by four scientists from the Stanford Research Institute in 1959 with the idea of doing some hobby winemaking. In 1962, after what they thought were some spectacular initial garage-style wines, the group launched Ridge Vineyards, bringing on famed winemaker Paul Draper in 1969 to help them cement the winery’s, and subsequently the region’s, reputation for making world-class wines. The winery’s 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet triumphed at the famous Judgment of Paris tasting, as well as at several follow-up rematches. Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, defined by elevation, with its sub-AVA Ben Lomond Mountain in a darker shade.”
The article went on to call out three specific 2017 Ridge Vineyard wines. These reviews included the following:
“Pale gold with a hint of green. Smells of pure and bright lemon curd with a hint of melted butter. Rich melted butter and lemon curd mix with a touch of butterscotch and bergamot. Excellent acidity and silky texture. Rich but not heavy, this is classic Californian Chardonnay at its best, without a heavy wood influence despite barrel fermentation and sur-lie ageing for 15 months.” (AY)
“Inky garnet. Smells of toasted coconut, black cherry and cassis. Muscular and powdery tannins that dry the mouth wrap around a core of black cherry and cassis. This is supposed to be the more accessible Cabernet from the Monte Bello estate, but I find the tannins and wood treatment pretty aggressive here, as my mouth is parched through a finish of whiskey barrel and salted liquorice. This one needs to wait a couple of years before drinking.” (AY)
“Inky garnet. Aromas of pencil shavings and American oak layered over darker black plum and cassis. Beautifully sculpted tannins wrap around a core of cassis, black cherry and blueberry fruit that has a stony, earthy depth. Excellent acidity and balance contribute to this wine’s characteristic of utter seamlessness that is so compelling. The cedar, coconut and whiskey-barrel notes of the American oak are present, as are the muscles that wood brings to the tannins, which stiffen as the wine finishes with notes of herbs and blackberry. Most Monte Bellos benefit from ageing, and this will be no exception. It is darker and a bit more brooding on release than the 2016 or 2015. Give it 5 to 10 years and watch it sing. Outstanding.” (AY)