Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate.
Ridge Vineyards is a California winery with two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg. They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay. Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI). They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in 1960.
Great wines have always been determined by their site – by nature, not by man – Paul Draper
It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international rep when the Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines. Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!
Ridge has four estate vineyards, Monte Bello (first commercial release was in 1962), Geyserville (first release 1966), Lytton Springs (first release 1972), and their newest property East Bench.
Many think of the Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon as a baby “Monte Bello”, Ridge’s flagship Bordeaux blend. The grapes are sourced from the same estate vineyard. But it’s produced to be more accessible and develop it’s complexity sooner (the common rule of thumb is wait 10 years before Monte Bello hits its stride).
It’s a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot. It was fermented on native yeasts and aged for nineteen months in primarily used air-dried American oak barrels (only 15% new). Drink now; but it will continue to develop for at least another 10 years.
Alcohol;13.8% Suggested retail price; $40 >Find this wine<
My tasting notes follow:
Carmine color with earthy dark red fruit, tobacco, toasty oak and vanilla aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with deep, rich, pure cassis, black cherry, and mineral flavors . It’s well-balanced, and refined with soft fine-grained tannins, a long finish and a nice vein of acidity.
Rating: A- – How good is this wine? I attended a Ridge Blogger tasting where many very experienced tasters thought this wine was a Monte Bello – a wine that sells for 4x the price!
Pair with: A grilled Rib-eye or filet mignon come to mind, but I’d also consider pairing this elegant wine with grilled, braised or roasted, lamb, venison, pork, chicken, or even duck.
Sample purchased for review
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(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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