Ridge, the leading light of American wine, has just released their Spring offering. For the record, we do not “sell” Ridge. These wines with the deep and faithful following they have, sell themselves.
But if you are new to the party, welcome. Be prepared to fall hard for the signature energetic complexity and endearing poise that has melted wine enthusiasts’ hearts for decades. A bottle of Ridge – no matter the vintage or blend– always guarantees an expansive look into Santa Cruz or Sonoma terroir. I mean this by how the wines retain place both texturally but also in specific flavor, always offering a unique arrangement of signature herbal, luscious brambly fruit and graphite minerality. They have, in a uniquely American sense, a rustic grace to them. A waltz performed in cowboy boots.
An automatic purchase for an (always growing) army of collectors every year there are far more people who want cases of Ridge than will actually receive them. Please be patient for allocations, especially for this vintage.
2016 in Santa Cruz, and across California, offers exceptional promise. The draught, which had been plaguing winemakers for four years was finally relieved. According to Jancis Robinson, 2016 bore wines of “very good complexity, and higher-than-average natural acidity.” For fans of classical balance and poise, 2016 will be a keeper.
Harvest Dates: 6 – 30 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.9˚
Fermentation: Full Crush, 100% floating cap. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; daily pump-overs; pressed at 9 days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (20% new, 6% one, 9% two, and 65% three and four years old.)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
“The 2016 Zinfandel Geyserville is bright, lifted and decidedly medium in body. The flavors are distinctly red toned and the acids are bright. Sweet red cherry, red plum, mint and floral notes add nuance, but it is the wine's overall energy that really makes an impression. Even at this early stage, the 2016 Geyserville is a knock-out.” 91-94 Points, Antonio Galloni
2016 East Bench Zinfandel $28 NET
Harvest Dates: 1 -5 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.4˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations; once daily pump-overs; pressed at twelve days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (20% new, 40% one and two years old, 40% three and four years old).
Aging: Eleven months in barrel
“Blackberry, cocoa licorice on the nose. Full bodied palate with fig and plum fruit, chalky tannins, mineral and chaparral notes on the finish.” Winemaker Joe Olney
2016 Paso Robles Zinfandel
Harvest Dates: 25 August – 2 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.0˚
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation; 100% submerged cap; pressed at eleven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels; 70% two years old, 30% three years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel.
“Deep garnet color. Black cherry fruit aromas and scented barrel spice. Rich bramble fruit on entry, medium body, integrated tannins and lively acidity, a long, opulent finish.” Winemaker Eric Baugher
2016 Estate Chardonnay
Harvest Dates: 7 – 15 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.7˚
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Selection: Nine of the twelve Estate Chardonnay parcels.
Barrels: 85% air-dried American oak, 15% French oak; 11% new, 51% one and two years old, 38% three and four years old.
Aging: Eleven months in first-fill, another four months extended settling in neutral barrels.
“Pale gold color. Apricot, citrus, and pear aromas. Appealing tropical fruit on entry, refreshing acidity, and elegant texture. Excellent balance.” Winemaker Eric Baugher
2015 Estate Cabernet $52 NET
Harvest Dates: 9 September – 9 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.2˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, and sorted ; 100% whole berries fermented on the native yeasts. Pressed at six days. Natural malolactic initiated in tank, finished in barrel with additional 18 weeks of lees contact.
Selection: Seventeen of twenty estate parcels.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels; (45% new, 17% one year old, 38% two and three years old).
Aging: Eighteen months in barrel
“Opaque purple in color. Aromas of cassis, anise, and clove spice from barrel aging. Blackberry fruit on entry, fine grain tannins, black olive, and forest floor. A long finish.” Winemaker Eric Baugher