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Ridge winery belongs in every serious wine collector's cellar. The Monte Bello Bordeaux blend from Santa Cruz is an icon wine. The Ridge Sonoma Zinfandels are accessible but limited. The wines regularly receive universal high scores and the wines are reference points for other winemakers.
About the Winery
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885 when an Italian immigrant planted the Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz mountains. It is hard to understate the role a few Stanford University engineers played in the history of California winemaking when they acquired the vineyard in the 1940's. In 1969, Paul Draper, a Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile’s coast range, joined the team. The Lytton Springs property in Sonoma was acquired in 1991, after decades of producing Zinfandels from the area.
About the Wine
A unique blend of 88% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 3% Alicante Bouschet. The wine has black cherry, pepper and chaparral on the nose. Briary red fruit, well defined, chalky tannins and refreshing acidity on the palate. Long sensuous finish.
The 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is bright, focused and beautifully perfumed. Bright red cherry, blood orange, pomegranate, mint and rose petal notes are all lifted in this exquisite, finessed Zinfandel. Silky, medium in body and gracious, the 2016 is absolutely sublime. The oak is just a bit pronounced at this stage, but that should not be an issue over time. ~ 94 pts Vinous Media
The 2016 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is excellent, offering up a lavish bouquet of ripe cherries, raspberries and sweet spices. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with an ample core of succulent, mouthwatering fruit structured around fine-grained, youthfully chewy tannins. Rich and concentrated, it's balanced by mouthwatering acids. It should be well worth following for the next 10-15 years.
Ridge boasts as illustrious a history as any winery in California, but they certainly aren't resting on their laurels. Indeed, a persuasive case could be made that Ridge is currently producing the best wines they've ever made. ~ 93 pts Wine Advocate