A visit to Ridge Monte Bello

Written By

April 12th 2018

It’s not just the buyers and sales team who love great wine at Goedhuis – en route to the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe our Financial Controller, Dan Lane, stopped off at Ridge and sent back this report:

A fantastic trip to Ridge Monte Bello today. The winery is at the very top of the San Jose mountain range looking down on the San Andreas fault line and Silicon Valley with the new Apple HQ in view. Ridge are very proud that they make their wine with minimal intervention, letting the natural yeasts work.

Head winemaker Eric Baugher gave us a very special behind the scenes tour of areas not usually open to the public.

Ridge-1

We tasted the 2016 Monte Bello straight out of barrel, first from French Oak then from Kentucky Oak showing enormous differences. Then we tasted the 2017 from barrel which was very toasted coffee at this early age, but already showing very well.

We then tasted the baby Monte Bello, their Cabernet Estate 2017 which was not showing the toast of its big brother, but was rich in red fruit and tannins.

We moved on to the predominantly Zinfandel Geyserville 2017 which was a totally different beast, very smooth plum and red cherry palate. They have recently purchased the Geyserville plot, which they previously leased, for $7m for just 35 acres to preserve the future of this wine.

We continued the cellars and tour of the facilities leaving Eric at the upper vineyard to drive back down to the tasting rooms at the lower vineyard.

Ridge-2

We started here on the 2017 Chardonnay which was totally Burgundian in style and nothing like usual creamy Californian Chardonnays.

Moving onto the 2016 Geyserville which surprisingly contains 3% Alicante Bouschet grape. This plot, as well as Lytton Springs, are field vines which have been planted over many years. They have calculated there are 14 different grape varieties within the plots.

Next came the 2016 Lytton Springs which has not yet been released and is due out in the fall. Raspberry and cassis with toasted oak and a long-lasting finish. They feel this has the potential to age for longer than the Geyserville.

Next was the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate which moved us into Bordeaux territory. Spice and cassis on the nose with blackcurrant on the palate and a long, balanced finish.

We moved onto the 2015 Monte Bello which was a more complex wine with spice, cherry, cassis on the nose and utterly delicious.

We finished on a $350 bottle of 2004 Monte Bello which had aged beautifully with plenty of fresh fruit and lengthy finish. All in all an amazing and insightful tour and tasting. Such a privilege. Huge thanks to Eric and the team at Ridge.