Winery/Producer: Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello.
Appellation: Northern Santa Cruz Mountains, California.
Tasting Room and Location:
17100 Monte bello Road
Tel. 408 867-3233
Grape Variety Tasted: Five wines: 2014 Estate Chardonnay ($50), 2013 Estate Cabernet ($55), 2013 Monte Bello ($185), 2013 Torre Cabernet Sauvignon from their Historic Vineyard Series ($65) and 2014 Geyserville Zinfandel ($40).
Tasting Price: $5.00, 10.00 and 20.00 depending on wines tasted. We had the $20 tasting that included the Monte Bello.
Comments: Ridge Vineyard is aptly named as you find out driving up a mountain to an elevation of 2300 feet…it’s quite an experience!!! When you arrive at the vineyard the spectacular view over the hundreds of rows of grapes into the valley is awesome. The historic tasting lodge was well sited with a lovely garden surrounding it. Unfortunately we didn’t take full advantage of the very pleasant terraced picnic area outside the tasting room, on our next visit we will…the ambiance was just terrific. The tasting room itself was rustic and sparse, but cozy with no private tasting room or seating. The tasting room was not officially open so we had an appointment for a private tasting. The Monte Bello facility is only open weekends during April through October, but by appointment throughout the year.
Vicky thought the scenery was more spectacular than the wine, but frankly both were really quite special. In addition, with all the hype about the Judgement of Paris and the Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet being one of the winners, we expected the wines to be pretty special…and they were. In the end we bought several bottles of the Chardonnay and Monte Bello…the two we liked the best.
Our hostess, Lauren Vieira was knowledgeable, attentive and informative. We learned about the interesting history of the Ridge Vineyards, their philosophy of selecting and blending grapes from different areas in the vineyard and their Monte Bello entry in the Judgement of Paris tasting including its high standing in the follow up 10-year anniversary tastings. Another interesting item was they double decanted all of the wines, then pour them back into the bottle prior to tasting. Even the older wines are decanted once before the tasting. The information definitely enhanced the tasting experience.
Recommendation from the tasting: Our tasting at the Ridge Vineyards was an unforgettable experience and we recommend it if your visiting the San Francisco area. Both the scenery and the wines are noteworthy and it’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill California wine tastings!!!