• Making Single-Vineyard Wines Since 1962 Ridge Vineyards Is Still Shining

    Making Single-Vineyard Wines Since 1962 Ridge Vineyards Is Still Shining
    The story of Ridge Vineyards dates back to 1885 when vines were first planted on their Monte Bello Estate, however, it was in 1962 when the winery was re-bonded by its new owners that it began to catch worldwide recognition for its Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Shortly after, they produced their first Zinfandel wine and since then have been one of the biggest advocates of the varietal.
    When visiting their Lytton Springs property, which became part of their estate in 1991, it became evident to us why Ridge Vineyards is synonymous with excellence. Focused on making pre-industrial, single-vineyard wines from organically grown fruit, Ridge has sown a following of wine lovers looking for bold and balanced wines. A testament to their commitment to excellence and sustainability efforts is the fact that all of their vineyards are 100% certified organic and are certified by the Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification Program. This commitment extends to their Lytton Springs winery, whose walls are made from vineyard clay, sand and hay to help with the insulation and which is equipped with solar panels to generate it’s electricity. Both features go hand in hand with Ridge’s grape growing mission of minimally impacting the environment.
    The exceptional results of their steadfast commitment to their core values are perhaps best reflected by the results obtained in the three different editions of the famed Judgment of Paris. After the outstanding 5th place finish of their 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon at the original 1976 Judgment of Paris, Ridge impressively came in 1st place at the 2006 and 2016 re-enactments. The honors in the 2006 edition were awarded to their 1971 Monte Bello and in 2016 awarded to their 2012 Monte Bello.
    An outdoor tasting experience overlooking centenary vines in their Vineyard Vista Lounge is not one to miss if you are visiting Sonoma County. We were fortunate during our visit to enjoy our experience with a stunning view of their gnarly old vines planted back in 1901. Trying to single out our favorites of the tasting is almost impossible as all of the wines we enjoyed were exceptional. However one of the highlights was having the opportunity to enjoy their 2016 and 2019 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignons side by side. These wines are undoubtedly two of the best wines we have had the opportunity to taste. As expected each vintage has its intricacies but both showcased a freshness, elegance and structure that blended harmoniously to create an unforgettable wine tasting experience. Another highlight was revisiting the 2017 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel which happened to be the 2022 Wine Destinations Wine of the Year. The wine tasted even better than we remembered it. If you are looking for a smooth Zinfandel showcasing bold fruit this is one you want to try. Their 2015 Lytton Estate Syrah drank beautifully as well.
    With its rich history, its focus on terroir-driven wines and an appetite to evolve while protecting the environment there is no doubt that Ridge Vineyards will continue shining. A visit to their Monte Bello Estate to better understand their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons has been added to our Wine Destinations bucket list and we can’t wait to enjoy another unforgettable time.