anyone been by ridge recently and able to try?
I got the email and am curious as well. It says this is only the second bottling of Pinot that Ridge has done, the first being in 1971.
Tasted in early March:
I too received the email and I also appreciate Tom’s tasting note.
The real question is this one of the top-50 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots? Doubt it. Top-80? Probably.
Fun experiment, but what experience did they bring? Making good Pinot is a huge contrast to the techniques and equipment they use for Cab and Zin. That does not translate. I’m sure some of the staff had the experience, but who was in charge? Then, the vineyard is young vines, working towards its (as yet unknown) potential. There’s a very long list of well-regarded older vine vineyards in the region. I’m not sure the point of this wine - maybe something fun for Eric to do? Probably more that a large volume of grapes were available and brought to attention by a newer vineyard working on making a name for itself. Anyway, more of something interesting to taste at the winery or as part of a club shipment than something to seek out.
It’s disappointing they would take such a leap and do it so poorly (at least based on Tom’s note), compared to so many other really good and interesting pinots being made in SCM.
Paging Larry Stein to the white courtesy telephone.
It should be expected it would be a learning experience. I believe Larry and others have noted the next vintage is much better, fwiw. Early speculation (maybe some insider information, too, but don’t remember) was these were intended for Japan. Who knows? This is the wine industry. A done deal that leads you to make a wine may have gone >poof< by the time the wine was made. I’ve also heard their board of directors are pretty loopy, which explains a lot decisions (though they don’t interfere with actual winemaking).
With a winery like Ridge, I don’t think they would set out to make an ‘inferior’ wine whatsoever. From my limited knowledge of them, they appear to be a conscientious producer.
Could they have chosen a ‘better’ site? Of course - but ‘better’ is in the eye of the beholder. If this wine was not aimed for domestic release as someone noted above, perhaps their initial mindset was different?
It’ll be interesting to continue to follow this thread - and hopefully more folks actually have an opportunity to try the actual wine.
I’ve had both the 2018 and 2019. If you think Ridge’s American oak + PN sounds like a good combo, then it is worth trying. But I would not go out of the way to buy it.
The 2018 was rather disappointing - not enough fruit to carry the oak. Our last bottle hidden away somewhere to try out in a few years to see if my opinion changes any on that vintage.
The 2019 is much better and felt very balanced to me (TN below). Glad it was part of the ATP shipment since I would have passed on it otherwise. Bought more after trying out the first bottle since it is different enough from the rest of the PN in our cellar. I feel needs several years to further soak up the oak, which reminded me of last time I consumed a 1er Burgundy way to young.
Pre-pandemic, I used to point the motorcycle up 35 and down 17 to commute to SV several times a month in the summer. I can definitely say elevation matters and 400’ is pretty low. I suspect this will vary a lot vintage-to-vintage. Given the healthy amount of American oak used, I expect a few people here to have some decisive opinions as well.
I am still curious to follow future vintages to see how they turn out since I like the impact of American oak. But there are way better SCM PNs out there.
2019 Ridge Pinot Noir Corralitos Gali Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz County (5/8/2022)
Tasted from a PnP and heavily comparing it to the 2018 vintage.
Medium dark purple in color. Initially a lot of SO2 on the nose, which is very shocking for a Ridge wine, but quickly blew a way. Nose of dark cherries, cedar, a bit of star anise, a hint of pine and juniper, and a little bit of leather. Nose is somewhere between OR Pinot and Burgundy. Medium bodied, dry, very structured, and very Ridge like. Palate is on the darker fruit side of pinot yet is artfully extracted to not overpower everything. Dark red cherries, red currants, cranberries, a bit of star anise, cedar, leather, a bit of tobacco leaf, and just a hint of American oak spices. Heavier than expected tannin structure than I was expecting form a SCM PN. Finish is moderately long with cranberries, currants, star anise, thyme, vanilla, a bit of dill, and light black tea.
In my TN of the 2018 – I firmly stood by that the primary flavors did not stand up to the Ridge treatment. In this vintage, I can say that the primary flavors hold up. Reminds me of young 1er Burgundy right now. This needs several years in the cellar for the oak to integrate further. I can’t wait to see what Ridge does with future vintages of this. 91pts today, but I think this has the potential to score much higher once it ages some. (91 pts.)
Posted from CellarTracker
For my taste, American oak and Pinot Noir don’t play together well. I know a winemaker/vineyard owner who used American oak the first year he made a Pinot and he said “I made that mistake once and I’ll never do it again”. Looks like the 2018 used mostly American oak (84%) and the 2019 used 62%.
Daniel - I think you need to use more slashes and repetition in your notes.
As was mentioned, I did try it, but it was just a snapshot. It did appear to be better than 2018. I need to take a bottle home to properly assess it.
Will need a lot of mentoring and many more years drinking to get there.
Writing TNs are still awkward for me even after several years of doing them. Unlike wine, I have never have found a TN style that I really liked.
Looks fine to me. I think that’s what John was saying, too, ie. “Too clearly communicated. Please make it awkward and hard to read.” Next thing to do is a survey of rural outhouses to understand how they express themselves through the seasons.
I haven’t tried the 2019. I thought the 2018 was a fine bistro wine and I appreciated the label drinking novelty of a Ridge Pinot Noir after a long gap. I hope they keep tinkering with it. SCM is about Pinot Noir in my book and Ridge is about SCM.
Well, Wes… when I was little growing up in KansasCity, we also had urban outhouses. Wasn’t until I was in 7’th grade we got indoor plumbing. But I would still go out on the patio to take my going-to-bed pee.
You be surprised how distinctive outhouses can be in smell/aromatics/perfume. It’s gotta be related to that terroir thing that outhouse afficianados babble on & on about.
Completely agree. There are so many really Pinots from this area, and this doesn’t seem to be one of them.
I was there a couple days ago with a friend who is a club member. They stated the 2019 was actually the 3rd PN they made but only second offered to the list, as the '18 went out of country. It was ok but I don’t really go to ridge for PN as I’m pretty picky about that varietal. We picked up half a case and a couple large formats.
I did see Shana Rosenbloom walking around in the cellar with someone who looked a lot like Mark the CEO. I have not heard anything formal yet but I know she closed down her winery back in February. I think Her dad, Joel and Paul met pretty regularly over the years I think she would be a great fit there for the next couple decades or more.
That’s not correct on '18. It was offered at the winery and to members. I saw plenty of cases kept downstairs. I can’t recall if it subsequently went for sale to non-members.