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Ridge Wines - Easy Explainer?

Hi, have just seen the Ridge En Primeur. A little pricey for my budget, but got me thinking that I have no idea how Ridge Wineries work at all.

Each of the wines seems to have a name and a style. What do they mean? Is there a quality hierarchy? Do they have different winemakers or one winemaker? Is the name just the parcel of land where it is from?


Lytton Springs is Sonoma and Monte Bello is Santa Cruz mountains in the Bay area,
Here is their web page for further information

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Might be one for @Sarah

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AFAIK all the Zinfandel based wines are single vineyards (and all different field blends).

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Monte Bello used to be about £90 per bottle and as such was a brilliant alternative to Mouton at a fraction of the price, the 2003 was £79 ea and the 2008 £95, both still going strong. See the “Judgement of Paris”

The WS also offers Ridge Mountain Cabernet or Cabernet Merlot from time to time. This is a bit like a second wine to Monte Bello and in my experience was good value. Alas, both wines have become much more expensive and I have stopped buying the odd couple of bottles for special occasions.
I’m sure others will comment about the Zinfandels.

Let me see if I can help,
Ridge has two wineries - one in the Santa Cruz mountains - at Monte Bello - and one in Sonoma on Lytton Springs.
Monte Bello, Lytton Springs, Geyserville - are all names of the vineyards the wines come from.
They then also name the predominant grape variety in the blend - Cabernet (Monte Bello) and Zinfandel for the others.

The team has a number of very senior winemakers who are dedicated to certain regions or wines to ensure the focus needed for really high quality across their range - which though their cellar in the states is very large. However they really focus on around 6 key wines for export.

The price of Monte Bello has crept up quite quickly over the last few years, mainly due to lower yields and higher demand, however I truly believe that it still offers exceptional value and competes at its price.
When looked at in context of the “super Napa Icon cabernets” it even looks like a bargain!

Hope that answered some of your questions


Thank you very much, that explains a lot!!

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I used to buy Ridge wines in the 1970s and 1980s every time I was in the US with work. It was set up by Paul Draper who had been a programmer, as I was then. I liked the style of the operation and the detail that was presented on the labels. It is interesting to look back at my collection and I notice that early ones gave plenty of information about the wine but didn’t state the bottle size! I have a white Zinfandel 1982 label of a different style (condition too bad to scan). Sadly, by the late 1980s the price started getting out of my reach so I haven’t bought any since then.