A Wine Blog From the Land of Hoodoo
I don't know if anyone has noticed but what is unquestionably one of America's greatest wineries has begun maintaining a wine blog. And it's a good one.
Who has heard of Ridge Vineyards? Who has been reading 4488: A Ridge Blog?
I won't recount the storied Ridge history except to say that it has been the source for more than 30 years of some of the greatest wines ever produced in this country and all from its hilltop location in the seemingly unlikely local of he Santa Cruz Mountains.
One of the greatest CA Chardonnays I ever tasted came from Ridge's Monte Bello Vineyard. And every time I've tasted a Monte Bello Cab that has age on it I've come away mightily impressed. The point is not that I like these wines and the winery, but rather that a winery that smoothly fits into the pantheon of American winemaking greats is now treating us to a regularly updated blog.
The blog itself is written primarily by the winery's Monte Bello tasting room manager Christopher Watkins, a man after my own heart who not only can write well but understands the intersection of Jazz and wine and proves it when he writes the following in one blog post on the meaning behind having jazz on in the tasting room:
"I fiercely believe that great art emerges from the holy mojo
intersection of spontaneity and craft; the idea that you have to train
an entire lifetime to act, at the moment of truth, as if you’ve never
learned a thing at all. Craft without spontaneity is a dullard’s game,
and spontaneity without craft is self-indulgence and sloppiness. It’s
when the two cross that the hoodoo hits."
I'm not sure one must be a Ridge fan to appreciate this winery blog, but it certainly helps. I am sure that after spending some time with Christopher and Ridge via this blog you will be ready to try the next Ridge bottling that comes your way or catches your eye. And the fact is, you really should take nearly any opportunity to get acquainted with Ridge wines. Any self respecting fan of CA wine and CA wine history must investigate this monumentally important wine brand.
Dear Tom Wark,
Now that I’m commencing with this note, I am realizing I don’t know exactly where to begin, so I suppose I’ll just begin with what is perhaps the obvious; thank you!
I was absolutely jaw-dropped to read your post this morning. Of course I agree wholeheartedly with your reflections on Ridge and its place in “the pantheon,” and I’m doubly thrilled to have elicited your wonderful reaction to my post on Jazz and Wine, but your acknowledgement of our blog itself, and your kind words about its character and quality, were truly a surprise; and a very pleasant one indeed!
I believe at this point it goes without saying that your contribution to the world of wine blogging, and in fact wine commentary in general, is beyond substantial, so to have come into your radar is a great pleasure.
Thank you again for your kind words, I look forward to many more correspondences.
Ridge Zins made me appreciate what good ones are. I’m fortunate to live in the Bay Area and have taken the windy roady up the hill for tastings a few times.
I’m a big fan of all thing’s Ridge. As you mentioned, the Chard is incredible, and I’ve only been able to get my hands on the Montebello cab a couple of times, but each time was a highlight of my wine-tasting life.
And in a sea of jammy, hot, California Zinfandels, I can always count on Ridge Zins to be fantastic: balanced and tasty. Cheers Christopher!
Age occasionally has rewards, and one of them is to have been able to know Ridge Zinfandels back to the early ’70s.
Another reward, if you want to call it that, is to have too many wines to ever drink them all. Chalk it up to youthful enthusiasm, I guess.
Still, there is nothing wrong in being able to remember tasting 1968 Monte Bello Cab or having a bunch of the 1970 and 1974 Cabs and 72 and 73 Geyserville resting comfortably out back. To say that they are “still drinkable” is an understatment. Most of my Ridge wines have aged quite well. Thank you David Bennion and Paul Draper.
There has been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about wineries that forget their friends and then come rushing back when times get tough. Ridge was never one of those.
And here is the best part. When Earl Singer and I launched Connoisseurs’ Guide back in November, 1974, we chose Zinfandel and Ridge, along with the great wines from the late Joe Swan, dominated the recommendations. Today, Ridge has far more competitors, and they still rate at the top of table.
Sometimes, nice guys do finish first.
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Let me know and i can send you a sample to try!