makes wines that
compete in terms of quality and desirability with Bordeaux First Growths and
Grand Cru White Burgundies. Winemaker Paul Draper
has crafted 43
vintages at Ridge and his practical, hands-off approach to winemaking has
resulted in an exceptional and highly sought-after range of wines.
Although a vineyard was first planted near the top of Monte Bello Ridge
in the Santa Cruz Mountains
in 1885, it lay abandoned until four
Stanford Research Institute engineers bought it in 1959. Ridge Vineyards was
formed in 1962 and Paul Draper was appointed as winemaker in 1969. After
stunning the world by their triumph in the 1976 Judgement
of Paris tasting
, Ridge Vineyards shot to fame and gained cult status
Since then, Ridge has concentrated on producing fine Bordeaux blends and
Chardonnays from Monte Bello's exalted terroir as well as renowned Zinfandels
from the Lytton Springs and Geyserville vineyards in Sonoma County.
Ridge's ethos is simple: 100% dedication in the vineyards to grow the most
concentrated and flavoursome grapes followed by 100% dedication in the winery
with minimum intervention to draw all the fruit's natural richness into the
Paul Draper has studiously dedicated himself to employing traditional Old World
methods in the creation of his wines, resulting in silky smooth reds with fine
tannins and glorious fruit. The wines are racked and fined but remain
unfiltered so as not to lose any character before being matured in new American
Ridge Monte Bello, once pure Cabernet, has been a Cabernet-dominated
blend since 1975 with varying quantities, depending on the vintage, of Merlot,
Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc to add complexity to the final wine. The
Monte Bello Chardonnay, arguably California's most respected white wine,
is elegantly structured and rivals the finest White Burgundy Grand Crus.
Since 1972 Ridge has also specialised in top-quality Zinfandel blends from
the Lytton Springs and Geyserville vineyards in Sonoma County and
in 1979 the Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet blend joined the range to
offer a softer, earlier drinking companion to the famed Monte Bello.