Ridge's history begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor and prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He planted vineyards and constructed a winery of redwood and native limestone in time to produce the first vintage of Monte Bello in 1892. The historic building now serves as the Ridge production facility.
Though Ridge began as a Cabernet winery, by the mid-60s, it had produced several Zinfandels including the Geyserville. In 1972, Lytton Springs joined the line-up and the two came to represent an important part of Ridge production. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of Chardonnay since 1962.
The Ridge approach is straightforward: find the most intense and flavorful grapes, guide the natural process, draw all the fruit's richness into the wine. Decisions on when to pick, when to press, when to rack, what varietals and what parcels to include and when to bottle, are based on taste. To retain the nuances that increase complexity, Ridge winemakers handle the grapes and wine as gently as possible. There are no recipes, only attention and sensitivity.
After two short harvests, the vines set a full crop. Each parcel was picked and crushed to separate fermentors. Natural yeast fermentations were slow but steady; we limited pump-overs to once daily to manage tannin extraction. After malolactic we chose six of the seven blocks for their depth of fruit, color and structure. Approachable as a young wine, this fine zinfandel will be at its best over the next eight years. Hand harvested; sustainably farmed, estate-grown organic grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.8 % water addition during fermentation; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 45 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Ridge has made the East Bench as a single vineyard since 2006, one of the few Ridge zinfandels that is 100% zinfandel. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley. Blackberry, cocoa licorice on the nose. Full-bodied palate with fig and plum fruit, chalky tannins, mineral and chaparral notes on the finish.
Origin: Dry Creek Valley/Sonoma County/California/USA
Grapes: 100% Zinfandel