Ridge produces great wines and has been doing so for many years. The winemaking dates back to the 1800’s when Osea Perrone, a prominent Italian from San Francisco, purchased land on the top of the Monte Bello ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and started making wine. More than 40 years later, William Short bought property just below the Perrone property and planted Cabernet Sauvignon. It is these same vineyards that produces today’s Monte Bello cabernet. In the 1960’s the Geyserville zinfandel was planted but production was still under 3000 cases. It was also in the 1960’s when Paul Draper joined in.
Paul studied philosophy at Stanford and had recently set up a winery in Chile. He was not formally trained as a winemaker, but had a practical, straightforward approach. He preferred to the wines to reflect the grape and terroir. Here’s what I love about the Ridge wines.
– Many of the grapes are still grown in the Santa Cruz mountains, west of San Jose. The climate is cooler – due to the fog – the grapes are not as ripe and wines have lower alcohol. Most of them are single vineyard.
– Ridge focuses on what happens in the vineyard. For example, their wines are a “field blend”, which means they plant a bunch of different varietals together and the resulting mix is what nature gives you. That means the amount of Zinfandel in their blends will change year to year.
– Ridge popularized Zinfandel by making complex and distinct wines. Their Zins are considered some of the finest wines – of all varietals.
Learn more about Paul at https://www.ridgewine.com/draper-retirement/a-brief-autobiography-paul-draper/
Learn more about Ridge wines at https://www.ridgewine.com/wines/