Drink That Tune: A blogger tasting at Ridge Vineyards

Sunday was a day to celebrate.

Sunday marked the third anniversary of 4488: A Ridge Blog by Christopher Watkins.

Sunday was the birthday of the late, most epic, jazz bassist, Paul Chambers.

Sunday was also F-ing beautiful…


See what I mean?

So it only stands to reason that on Sunday I headed up to Ridge Vineyards to participate in another blogger tasting…

I had no clue how much more awesome the day was gonna get…

When Christopher let us bloggers into the cool side of the barn at Monte Bello, at first, things looked normal…

Water, Glasses, Pen and Notebook all arranged nice and neat.

Breads and Cheeses were on display and ready to be noshed.

But then, things got weird…

Christopher started us off with a splash of the Ridge 2010 Chardonnay to wet our whistles.  It was a classic golden-yellow color.  There was a vibrant nose of green apple, vanilla, and mineral water.  On the palate, the Chardonnay was quite viscous and brought flavors of vanilla bean and lemon meringue pie.

Oh no… There was nothing weird about the Chardonnay.  It was great.

But what was up with that camera across the room?


Say "Cheese!"

And when Christopher brought out the wines, he kept them inside brown paper bags…


I haven't gone straight from the bag since I was in college.

Things began to make sense once Christopher began to introduce the tasting.

In honor of the blog’s anniversary, and Paul Chambers’ birthday, we were going to listen to some classic jazz music (all featuring Paul Chambers on bass) while we were going to drink some classic Ridge wines (made by another guy named Paul… Paul Draper).  Our goal was to match the four wines we were about to taste with one of the four songs we were going to hear.  The wines would be tasted blind, so as not to influence our choices.

So what’s up with the camera?

In August, Christopher will be participating on a panel at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon to discuss the relationship between wineries and bloggers.  The camera would be used for source material for his presentation.


After each of us got a chance to make wine and music pairing choices, we would reveal our answers on camera.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I can Drink that Tune in four glasses.

Let’s do this!


Wine #1

Color: Dark reddish purple.

Nose: Blueberry and tires (mmmmmmmmm), with this deeper concentrated blackberry note that keeps opening up over time.

Taste: There is a great concentration of tire rubber and blueberry fruit.  The finish is nice and long, and peppery, with some dope-ass tannins.

My Guess: This, to me, was a classic Monte Bello.  Great, dark fruit flavors, and balanced to the hecka.  Let’s call it a 2008.

My Jazz Pairing: Give me “Paul’s Pal” by Sonny Rollins.  To me, it’s the type of song I would use to turn somebody onto jazz.  Just classic… Like this wine.

Do it, Sonny!

Next up…


Wine #2

Color: Similarly dark red, like the first wine… but darker.  You feel me?

Nose: One sniff, and I had to jot down the words “Funkified Earth” in my notebook.  There’s a lot of layers to this one.  A lot.  And yet, they come together perfectly.  There’s this great mixed berry fruit, along with this oily goodness.

Taste: Mad strawberry and blackberry fruits.  There’s a great mix of green bell peppers and crushed black pepper on the finish.  As wacky as these flavors may sound, the wine itself is quite reserved.

My Guess: This wine is so damn good… and so damn unique.  I was guessing a recent vintage of Geyserville (Zinfandel), because I always find them to be so damn good… and so damn unique.

My Jazz Pairing: “Bemsha Swing” by Thelonious Monk is loaded full of bouncy, funky notes.  Like the wine, it’s so damn good.

Take it away, Thelonious!

Let’s keep it rollin’…


Wine #3

Color: More darker red than the first two.

Nose: Good fruit and leather.  Remember when you were a kid, rockin’ fruit roll-ups for lunch?  This wine smells like that strawberry fruit roll-up.

Taste: Juicy and concentrated with fruit… Spicy blackberry and red currant.

My Guess:  At first, I was thinking that this was a ripe Zinfandel, but the more I thought about the aromatics of the nose and the spicy fruit, the more I gravitated toward Syrah.  Let’s call it a recent Lytton Estate Syrah.

My Jazz Pairing: “So What” by Miles Davis is a laid back, cool tune.  This song takes me back to elementary school.  Not a care in the world, but the fruit roll-up in my hand.

It’s all you, Miles…

And finally…


Wine #4

Color: Similar color to wine #3.

Nose: Super, ultra concentrated fruit of raspberry and currant.  Good leather notes.

Taste: The first sip gives a flavor blast of blueberries and raspberries.  The fruit fades into a leathery finish.

My Guess: This was a fun wine.  Not my cup of tea, but fun.  The concentrated fruit reminded me of some of the Old School Zinfandels I’ve had in the past… So that’s what I’m going with.

My Jazz Pairing: A fun wine needs an up-beat tune like “Mr. P.C.” by John Coltrane.  Super up.  Super fun.

Let’s take a ride on the Col-Train (Get it?)!

Dang, that was fun…


Hella Fun!

After each of us declared our jazz and wine pairings, Christopher brought us some more wines to 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 it?

Ridge 2009 Perrone Cabernet Franc: Red fruit and jerky on the nose.  Juicy red fruit and vanilla on the palate.

Ridge 2009 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon: Chalky blueberry and blackberry on the nose.  There’s a great grip to this wine accompanied by black and red fruits.  There’s a nice tea leaf flavor on the finish.

Ridge 2009 Torre Ranch Merlot: Chalky, smokey red fruit on the nose.  Red plum, olive, tea leaf on the palate.  Juicy and complex.

A few months back, I ranked the Perrone first, followed by the Klein and the Torre Ranch.

This time, my ranking has flip-flopped.  That Torre Ranch Merlot is fantastic!


So, after we got into the Historic Vineyard wines, Christopher was ready to reveal the wines that we had tasted earlier.

Are you guys ready?

Here we go!

Wine #1:

I guessed a 2008 Monte Bello…

The Answer:


Ridge 2001 Monte Bello... Scored a 99 by one Robert Parker.

I was glad to know that aside from the vintage, I got this one right.  As you recall, this wine screamed classic to me.

Wine #2:

I guessed a recent vintage of Geyserville (Zinfandel)…

The Answer:


Ridge 2000 Monte Bello... Overall winner at the 30 Year Anniversary Judgement of Paris Tasting.

Wow!  I choose recent Zinfandel-based field blend, and it’s a 12-year-old Cabernet!  I couldn’t believe how different the two Monte Bellos tasted.  At least I was right about one thing…

This wine was damn good!

Wine #3:

I guessed a Lytton Estate Syrah…

The Answer:


Ridge 1999 Lytton Springs (Zinfandel)... Winemaker Eric Baugher's favorite vintage of Lytton Springs.

Hey… I got the right vineyard!  To bad it was the wrong grape.

Wine #4:

I guessed the Old School Zinfandel…

The Answer:


Ridge 1997 Geyserville (Zinfandel)...

Those in the know should be proud of my pick.  The Old School block is part of the Geyserville Vineyard.  The problem here was that I was too specific.

All in all, I’d say I did a pretty rad job.

What a Sunday!


What a view!


What a view!


What a view!

There’s only one thing to do to celebrate a day like this…

Turn on some jazz, and drink some wine!

Miles and Charlie, could you do the honors?

Thanks guys.

Stay Rad,



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5 Responses to “Drink That Tune: A blogger tasting at Ridge Vineyards”

  1. Classics: The Gospels of Pauls (3rd Anniversary Wine Bloggers Tasting at Ridge Vineyards!) « 4488: A Ridge Blog Says:

    […] https://stayradwineblog.com/2012/04/22/drink-that-tune-a-blogger-tasting-at-ridge-vineyards/ […]

  2. SantaClara/Cruz Wine (@scmwine) Says:

    That’s interesting, I had the 99 Lytton Springs pegged as a Lytton Estate Syrah too. Nice post, and good to meet you.

  3. Classics: The Gospels of Pauls — Part II — THE BIG REVEAL! « 4488: A Ridge Blog Says:

    […] Stay Rad The best new wine blog I’ve yet encountered, hands down. Read this. It’s tremendous. […]

  4. Ramblings: Wine Descriptors and Ridge Vineyards Wines | SF Wine Blog: having fun with wine Says:

    […] https://stayradwineblog.com/2012/04/22/drink-that-tune-a-blogger-tasting-at-ridge-vineyards/ Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterMoreStumbleUponRedditDiggPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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