Recognized as one of the top wineries American, Ridge Vineyards has been producing the best Cabernet since founded in 1959, I visited Ridge Vineyards at Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains for weekday (appointment necessary) semi-private “ Historic Vineyard Tasting” and tour. The tour started with our guide greeting us, starting with the brief history of Monte Bello Ridge at their tasting room. Aaron, our guide explained to us that the owners had no intention of growing grapes when they first purchased the land here. (They used as a picnic ground.) Realizing surrounding vineyards, the owners decided to plant some grapes, which turned out to be excellent and became Monte Bello Ridge.
Monte Bello Chardonnay uses 100% Monte Bello vineyard chardonnay and has very complex flavor. I thought they mix different grapes to produce complex flavor, so I asked Aaron. He explained to me the reason for the complexity is how they plant grapes. Looking at a satellite image of the vineyards confirmed different varietals being planted quite randomly. This, according to Aaron produces variety of taste in grapes. After tasting five wines, we went out for a walking tour of the vineyard and tasted some of the grapes. Cabernet was almost ready for the harvest (in one to two weeks). It had very complex flavor – some sweet, some sour. They all tasted different event thought trees were only 10ft. apart. 2-hour tasting and tour offered us Ridge’s rich history and their pride in making great wines. They do offer tasting on weekends, too, and my recommendation is go there on weekdays for the semi-private tour for more relaxed experience.
Ridge Montebello Santa Cruz Mountains 17100 Monte Bello Road Cupertino, CA 95014 Phone 408.867.3233