Review: Ridge Vineyards 2013 Spring Release

One of California's most famous producers, Ridge Vineyards, and its spring 2013 releases. Photo: Duane Pemberton - All pictures taken with a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS30

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2013 - Located in Cupertino California, Ridge Vineyards is not only one of the most recognizable wine brands in California but all of the United States. Its pedigree of quality wines goes back well into the early 60s and has not slowed down at all. To this day, the wines it produces are highly sought after around the globe as it still continues to impress most of the world’s leading wine critics.

If you’re at all looking to try some of the wines in this review, than you’ll want to get on the winery’s mailing list, as some of the wines sell out fast.

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2011 Ridge Vineyards Mikulaco Chardonnay: $25 / Sold Out / W.E.P. Rating: 100%

On the nose: A very welcoming nose-orgy of lemon, key lime, grapefruit with undertones of butterscotch, melon and honeysuckle.

On the palate: A very well-balanced Chardonnay with beautiful oak integration. Sublime combination going here of fruit, mouthfeel and oak - easily one of the better American Chardonnay’s. The finish lingers on for weeks and commands you - doesn’t ask nicely - to pound more of it.

2012 Estate Merlot: $45 / W.E.P. Rating: 85%

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On the nose: This is a merlot that easily “brings on the funk” in a glass. Notes of fresh herbs, blackberry tart, sour plums, bramble, forest floor, black olives and fennel bulb.

On the palate: A very “non-traditional” tasting Merlot in that it doesn’t have those big black-fruit flavors that so many adore about this grape. Instead, this wine exhibits flavors that are reflective of its altitude and soil. A very herbaceous wine with tannins that are still super tight and need a few more years to simmer down. Good complexity and variance make this a bottle that I’d love to try again in another 5-7 years.

2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: $45 / W.E.P. Rating: 92%

On the nose:
Black cherries, leather, dark chocolate, bramble, clay and spice.

On the palate: Nice combo of red fruit, dark chocolate, bramble, plums and mushroom. There’s also a good mix of fruit, tannin and acid which help hold it all together as it goes into a lingering finish.

2011 Ridge Geyserville Red Blend:  $38 / W.E.P. Rating: 95%

On the nose:
Plums, black cherries, bramble, mushroom, forest floor with a very good hint of earl grey tea, cigar box and cocoa.

On the palate: A wine that drinks quite a bit “older” for its given vintage and demonstrates quite a bit of very nice complexity. Dark fruits, bramble and some spice all come together to create a solid combo of fruit tannin, acid and finish. Drink now or hold for 10-12 years.

2011 East Bench Zinfandel:  $28 / W.E.P. Rating: 90%

On the Nose:  Raspberry, cola, lavender, red clay, black cherry and peppered dark chocolate

On the palate: Clearly still a very young wine in that the tannins are still tight but after decanting awhile, it starts to open up. The notes of raspberry, cassis, dark chocolate, worn leather glove and cola round out the palate. Good acidity and structure help add to a rather enjoyable experience.

2011 Paso Robles Zinfandel:  $35 / Sold out / W.E.P. Rating: 90%

On the nose: Dried sour cherries, black raspberries, rhubarb, bramble, peppercorn, leather-bound book and cola.

On the palate: A very “relaxed” combination of spiced red fruits such as cherry, raspberry and tobacco with a splash of dark chocolate. Very solid acids and fruit that gel in a very good way - a super relaxed wine that drinks much older than its vintage would indicate. Very good fruit, mid palate and finish which lingers very well.

All in all, Ridge does a good job of holding to its high standards which have driven it to be considered such a “benchmark” brand from California. If you can find any of these wines at your local retailer or restaurant, try them.

Winery website:

How I rate:


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Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a food and wine writer who is also the owner of Pemberton is also a well read automobile reviewer and critic, all of which incorporates into his travel, wine and food reviews.

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