Independence Day at Ridge Vineyards
Thursday was a great celebration for the American nation, and my visit to see Paul Draper and his charming wife Maureen invoked such wonderful memories of the time we have spent together over the past 30 years. Paul has made an enormous contribution not only to Ridge but to the world of wine, one of the most distinguished figures in the last 50 years to grace the industry.
Always a great teacher, he constantly passes on his passion and deep intellectual comprehension of winemaking. As the result, many accomplished winemakers have been the recipients of so much of his knowledge over the years.
Monte Bello, Ridge Vineyards
I had a wonderful visit from the Monte Bello barrel room, to the office facility- which remains virtually untouched since the 1880s. The facility has of course all the modern gismos to analyse all the data from the vineyard to the winemaking facility. Paul still believes that tasting is the best way to make wonderful wine; from tasting many samples from various plots before harvest and making judgement calls when and if to pick.
Our wonderful lunch was accompanied by a stunning selection of wine:
Montebello Chardonnay 2016: in the first flow of youth and a good 6 years to flourish to its best.
Montebello Chardonnay 2006: this is at the peak of its life, beautifully honeyed and long, fine and elegant, a show stopper.
Lytton springs Zinfandel 2009: soft sweet rounded fruit, delicious.
Estate Cabernet 2016: focused, precise, will age another 2/3 years and well beyond, fantastic value.
Montebello 2005: closed at first, then it opened up to reveal classy red berry fruit and the potential to age for a further 10 years.
Montebello 1975: incredible, still so refreshing, bliss in a glass.
How lucky am I to have had the pleasure to share a day with such a great winemaker and above all a wonderful human being.
Off to Santa Barbara now,
Yours in wine,
In the vineyards at Monte Bello