I might have mentioned it before, but Ridge is beyond a shadow of a doubt my favourite 'New World' winery. It's one of my favourite wineries, period. Ridge Monte Bello 1991 remains one of my top wines ever tasted. So when the opportunity arose to essentially try the range available in the UK, new offerings, older vintages and a peach of a barrel sample, I made the ultimate sacrifice and showed up at work on a day off.
I should say that I'm kind of bummed that the 'Santa Cruz Mountains' wines are now simply referred to as 'Estate', but it's a minor quibble.
Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay 2008
Lemon skin, biscuits & butter on the nose.
Quite big, but balanced and with better oak integration than in previous vintages. Still a little youthful simplicity, but there are signs of a long life ahead and there's a nerve to it that suggests it will gain complexity as it ages.
Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2009
Melon & citrus on the nose.
Lovely, ripe and full palate with juicy melon fruit and a pleasing, grippy gristiness. There's biscuit and lemon rind as well. Lovely.
Ridge Geyserville 06
Big, roasted black fruits on the nose with loads of savoury, cured meatiness as well.
Tasting ace. All that fruit is right where it should be with good structure and secondaries of wild old forest. Quite awesome.
Ridge Geyserville 09
There's notes of mint on the nose, surrounding that fantastic dark berry core.
Forward and juicy but with a cooling mintiness on the back. Really tasting good already
Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains 2007
Bursting cassis on the nose. Very bright.
Incredible purity of fruit, almost piercing, with fantastic layered tannins and a touch of shaved cinnamon. Powerful, but impeccably balanced. Brilliant.
Ridge Estate Cabernet 2008
More subdued nose. Soft and spicy.Tight and dark. Balanced. Needs a couple of years.
Ridge Lytton Springs 2009
Something a touch dirty on the nose. Bit animal.
Ripe and sweet on the palate, but thin. Lacking something though. Not sure it would be fair to judge as I think it's a bad bottle. Bummer. Is that brett?
Ridge Monte Bello 2005
Good lord that nose is good. Berries and spice and incense. Like a hippy fruit salad.
Still young and tight but goodness that's extraordinary. Glorious integration, depth and balance. Fresh ripe berry fruit, allspice, cloves and Christmas with gripping, toothy tannins. So glad I've one of these laying down.
****(*) Probably 5 stars now, but I know it's going to get better
Ridge Monte Bello 2010 barrel sample
Bright youthful, wood & berries.
Huge at the minute, but incredibly promising. Raw oak, brash tannins and huge bunches of dark, crunchy berries. Will look forward to following it's progress.
Too young for stars, but (****-*****)
All wines tasted 2/5/2011 at Luvians Bottleshop