Episode 21 – Ridge Vineyards

Ridge Vineyards

Episode 21 – Ridge Vineyards

Today’s wine podcast has us visiting the Ridge Vineyard on top of well, the mountain ridge above Cupertino, California. (Ridge has two facilities, one in Sonoma County and one in Santa Clara County. We visited the latter) Nestled in the hills above Cupertino, ridge Vineyards is located approximately 15 miles from downtown San Jose.

Ridge Vineyards(http://www.ridgewine.com) overlooks Silicon Valley from the east rim of the Santa Cruz Mountains at height between 1,300 and 2,660 feet. The soil consists of decomposing Franciscan rock mixed with clay, laid over fractured limestone. Ridge produces approximately sixty-five thousand cases of wine per year, consisting primarily of Cabernet and Zinfandel, with small amounts of merlot, mataro, and petite syrah. Ridge also makes small amounts of Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains. With a long storied history that begins back in 1885, Ridge is certainly a mainstay of the area. Check out their video history on the web at http://www.ridgewine.com/about/about.tml

Paul Draper is the resident winemaker and has been with Ridge for over 35 years. He is a strong advocate of the importance of terroir — the mix of soil and climate that gives unique character to grapes grown in a particular location. He also believes that the limestone beneath their vines are very important, something that is not normally found in Napa Valley and Sonoma Counties.

00:00 Intro
01:39 Interview with Howard Hickok
10:47 Talk with Tasting Room Manager – Jenna
12:26 2003 Geyserville Zinfandel
22:47 2001 Santa Cruz Mountain Home Ranch (Cabernet Merlot Blend)
29:00 Warehouse fire
31:07 Wrap-up
34:16 Music by Bari Koral – Aspiring Angel

The wines that we sample are:

2003 Geyserville Zinfandel
Winemakers Notes: Ridge made its first Geyserville in 1966, from nineteenth-century
vines growing on the western edge of Alexander Valley. Over time, we have included more grapes planted along this quarter-mile-wide strip, which follows the old San Francisco & Northern Pacific Railway right-of-way. This distinctive “single site” now consists of three adjoining vineyards that share the same gravelly soils, exposure, and climate. In 2003, a period of intense heat in mid-September ripened all the zinfandel within two weeks; we harvested non-stop to hold sugars and overripeness in check. Reduced circulation during the natural-yeast fermentations moderated tannin extraction. We pressed at seven days, and a natural malolactic finished within five weeks. After a year of barrel aging in air-dried american oak, the wine
was fined with fresh egg whites. This elegant Geyserville is delightful now, but will gain in complexity over the next five to eight years. (76% ZINFANDEL, 18% CARIGNANE,6% PETITE SIRAH, 14.6% alcohol by volume)

Color — Deep ruby
Nose — Ripe black cherry, plum, pepper, chocolate, gravelly soil.
Hint of mint; layered vanilla, clove.
Palate — Rich, dark brambly fruit. Full-bodied and vibrant,
coated tannins, lively acidity. Black fruit and characteristic
regional gravel/mineral/earth. A long, complex finish.

Guy & Girl Notes: We both love the bold, chocolate aroma. Smooth on the palate. Very low in tannins and a soft velvety mouthfeel.

2001 Home Ranch, 375ml $31 USD, 750ml, $60USD
Winemakers Notes: This is the first bottling of our estate-grown “Home Ranch.” In the opulent 2001 vintage, we selected cabernet sauvignon from the thirty-five-year-old vines, balancing it with merlot from the younger blocks for this rich, sensuous wine—classic, yet more approachable than the long-aging Monte Bello. Four of the lots were held back for the softer Santa Cruz Mountains; eight were combined for the Home Ranch. The name derives from an old California tradition: Families who began with vines planted at their homesite often went on to acquire other vineyards. That first property, where the extended family gathered over the years, became known as the Home Ranch. For Ridge, the first ranch was Monte Bello, purchased in 1959. Though we now own Lytton Springs, and have leased other vineyards, Monte Bello is our Home Ranch. This full, complex wine reflects its ripe vintage. It is enjoyable now, and will continue to develop beautifully over the next decade. (50% CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 49% MERLOT, 1% PETIT VERDOT Alcohol 14.3% by volume)

Guy & Girl Notes: Lori again loves aroma from this wine, and finds it very delicious. Joe appreciates the complexity and picks up hints of flowers, perhaps violets(?) in the aroma. Joe’s pick of the day.

Our Artist this week is Bari Koral, and the song is Aspiring Angel. You can find more music from Bari Koral along with other great artists on the Podsafe Music Network (http://music.podshow.com).

Direct link to song:
Aspiring Angel

Ridge Vineyards / Monte Bello
17100 Monte Bello Road
Cupertino, CA 95014

Phone (408) 867-3233
Fax (408) 868-1350

Google Map

Open for tasting and sales Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 4.
Complementary tasting of at least four wines, with additional wines available for a small fee.

As always, please let us know if you like what you hear, have suggestions, or would like us to review a particular winery. Would you like to see shorter shows? Perhaps more details? Let us know! You can drop us a line at guyandgirl@gmail.com.

-A Guy & a Girl

Footnote – In this episode we talk about a warehouse fire that took place in October of 2005. the facility we mention is a converted military storehouse that now stores wine for small (and large) wineries throughout the area. A suspicious fire wiped out an estimated $100Million (USD) worth of wine. The warehouse was under the control of Wines Central (www.winescentral.com)Warehouse manager Debby Polverino has been quoted in the media as saying that the 240,000 square-foot warehouse stored over 6 Million bottles and hundreds of barrels of wine from about 95 wineries and 40 private collectors.
For a good initial report complete with photos see the SF Gate here

(Photo in blog can be found on Ridge Vineyard website, photographer unknown)

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