Pinky Strength: The #RidgeVineyards Blogger Tasting

Full Disclosure:

1. I love Ridge Vineyards.  The first wine of theirs I ever tasted was the 2003 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon blend at Vintage Wine Bar in Reno, Nevada.  I bought that bottle about four years ago, and it will be sitting in my wine fridge for another 5 years or so.

2. This past Spring, I joined their Monte Bello Collector Wine Club within fifteen minutes of setting foot in their Monte Bello tasting room.  Their wine is THAT good.  And the tasting room is THAT rad.

3. Ridge Vineyards is the reason why I started this blog.

Let me explain…

Ever since I joined their wine club, I obsessively began to read up on all the different wines that they produced (and there are hella).  Through combing the interweb, I quickly came across 4488: A Ridge Blog.  It’s a beautifully written blog, hosted by Christopher Watkins (the Tasting Room Manager at Ridge Monte Bello, who also happens to be a fantastic poet… and is also as cool a cat as they come).

So… on June 9th of this year, I read this post on Christopher’s blog.  In his post, he was looking for wine bloggers to attend a private tasting at Ridge Monte Bello.  In reading the post, I thought to myself, “How f-ing cool would that be?”  The only problem was that I didn’t have a blog.


If your only problem in life is that you don’t have a blog, there is a very simple solution…

On June 11th of this year (two days later), I created Stay Rad: A blog about wine and all things awesome.

You may notice a few things about my blog.  One, is that the theme (the layout of the blog) is identical to that of Ridge Vineyards.  This is in tribute to the winery and the blog that got me started.  The other thing is that although I review Ridge wines every once in a while on this blog, I never give them scores.  This is because I am a member, and I don’t want that to effect the scores I give them.


Let’s move on.

Today is the six month anniversary of the day that my blog went live.

Also, guess where I went today (and for what purpose)?


The December Blogger Tasting at Ridge Vineyards!

Full Disclosure:

4. I’ve been fighting a cold for the last week.

5. Kara and I hosted a holiday party last night.

6. We did not go to bed until 3am.

7. I woke up at 8am feeling a little “under the weather”.

8. I would not miss this for anything.


9. This made me feel a whole lot better.

As I walked into the private tasting room at Monte Bello, I decided to start tweeting…

@JeffIsRad: Busted my cold in time to make it to the #RidgeVineyards #WineBlogger tasting.

As I looked around the room, I discovered a large screen tv that would be posting our tweets live…


@JeffIsRad should get a new profile pick.

While waiting for the last of the bloggers to show up, Christopher poured us some of the 2008 Monte Bello Chardonnay.

Full Disclosure:

10. For the purposes of this post, I will be scoring all (most) of the wines.

11. If you don’t like it, you can sit on a tack.


Ridge 2008 Monte Bello Chardonnay

Ridge 2008 Monte Bello Chardonnay:

Color: Golden Yellow.

Nose: Pear and vanilla.

Taste: Great acid and minerality.  Creamy.  Fantastic.

Score: 91 points

As everybody got settled, Christopher began the tasting by introducing the theme.


Christopher Watkins breaking it down.

For this tasting, we would be taking a journey through history.  After the Monte Bello Chardonnay, we would taste three of the Historic Vineyards single varietal wines, a vertical of three of the Santa Cruz Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon blends, and a mystery bottle donated by fellow blogger Allan Bree.  To take us back in time, we were each required to provide tasting notes for one of the wines using a manual typewriter.


The Lineup


The Historic Vineyards wines.

We were each provided with a fact sheet on the historic vineyards of Monte Bello.  You can read about them here.


My tasting notes and fact sheet on the historic vineyards of Monte Bello.

Oh yeah, and there was food…


Say cheese!


Once we got set up, we dove into the wines.

Ridge 2009 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon in the glass...


Ridge 2009 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle... and a typewriter.

Ridge 2009 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon:

Color: Light ruby red.

Nose: Tires.  Mint.  Cocoa.  Butter.

Taste: Bright raspberry and cranberry fruit.  Mint and white pepper.  This was described by Christopher as being “Elegant”.  I agree.

@JeffIsRad: #RidgeVineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon… It’s tasty.

Score: 91 points.


Ridge 2009 Torre Ranch Merlot

Ridge 2009 Torre Ranch Merlot:

Color: Deep purple.

Taste: Juicy leather.  Buttery.  Dusty.  Raspberry, blueberry, plum, and olive.

@JeffIsRad: #RidgeVineyards 2009 Torre Ranch Merlot… Blueberry.  Plum.  And, yes, Olives.

Score: 90+


Ridge 2009 Perrone Cabernet Franc

For the Ridge 2009 Perrone Cabernet Franc, I decided to take my shot at the manual typewriter…


Wish me luck...

It took me a while to get used to the typewriter… You gotta hit those keys hard.

Here’s what I wrote…


From here on out, I will be building up my pinky strength...

Color: Bright ruby red.

Nose: Chalky mocha and mint.  Bike tires for days.

Taste: Powdery chalk.  Plum, blackberries, and green peppers.  The wine is great, but I’m having issues with the typewriter.

@JeffIsRad: #RidgeVineyards The 2009 Perrone Cabernet Franc was DOPE.  The typewriter made me feel like one.

Score: 92 points.

After struggling with the typewriter, I had to step outside for a break…


The view from the ridge.

When I came back inside, Christopher set us up with a vertical of the Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Cabernet Sauvignon blend from 2003, 2004, and 2005.


Santa Cruz Mountains in the bottle...


Santa Cruz Mountains in the glass...

Ridge 2003 Santa Cruz Mountains:

This is the same wine that I have in my wine fridge.  The wine that I bought in Reno.  The wine that got me into Ridge.

Color: Ruby red.

Nose: Cocoa powder and blackberries.

Taste: Blackberry and eucalyptus.  Dusty tannins.  Cranberries.  It makes me smile.

Score: 92 points

Ridge 2004 Santa Cruz Mountains:

Color: Ruby red.

Nose: Dusty rosemary and raspberries.

Taste: Cranberries and fine tannins.  Bright red fruit.  This is a thoughtful wine.  This is the type of wine that would go buy you a burrito at La Choza if you were hung over.

Score: 92+

Ridge 2005 Santa Cruz Mountains Estate:

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Blackberry and blueberry fruit.

Taste: Big and juicy.  Powdery tannins.

Score: 91 points

@JeffIsRad:  #RidgeVineyards Santa Cruz Mountains 03, 04, 05 Cabernet Vertical = Hella x 3

After the vertical, we were each poured a glass of Allan Bree’s mystery wine…

Color: Bricking red to orange on the rim.  There are these tiny, dancing, black speckles floating around in it.

Nose: Dusty blueberries.  Smells sweet.

Taste: Very juicy.  Becomes very dry on the tail end.  It reminds me a little bit of those chocolate oranges.

After some of the bloggers took their guesses as to what the wine was, Allen revealed the answer…


Ridge 1994 Monte Rosso Zinfandel

I knew it!

Too bad I didn’t speak up.

And with that, the final Ridge Vineyards Wine Blogger Tasting of 2011 came to an end.

@JeffIsRad: @RidgeVineyards #ThankYou for the #BloggerTasting


– Jeff


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5 Responses to “Pinky Strength: The #RidgeVineyards Blogger Tasting”

  1. jonnybrandy Says:

    what a view. woah! lucky you

  2. For Those About To Type, We Salute You ! The Final Wine Bloggers Tasting of 2011 … « 4488: A Ridge Blog Says:

    […] […]

  3. For Those About To Type, Part II « 4488: A Ridge Blog Says:

    […] it might also possibly be slightly safe to say that (borrowing a phrase from JeffIsRad at the Stay Rad Wine Blog) there was perhaps in evidence the occasional lack of “pinky strength” […]

  4. Drink That Tune: A blogger tasting at Ridge Vineyards « Stay Rad Says:

    […] taste while he tabulated the results.  I was very stoked to get another chance to taste from the Historic Vineyard Series again… History repeats itself… Or does […]

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