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My August Wine of the Month

Ridge Vineyards
Mikulaco Vineyard Chardonnay
Santa Cruz Mountains

Ridge Vineyards was founded in the early 1960s, but wine production at the winery’s Monte Bello location has been going on much longer.  Osea Perrone, a doctor and Italian immigrant, planted grapevines here in 1885 and the first Monte Bello wine was produced in 1892.  After prohibition the winery had many owners, until it was purchased in 1960 by a group of Stanford Research Institute engineers David Bennion, Charles Rosen, Hewitt Crane, and Howard Zeidler.  In 1969 Bennion hired Paul Draper as winemaker.  Draper’s 1971 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon placed 5th at the famous Judgment of Paris Wine Tasting in 1976.  Draper continues to be winemaker today, under different ownership.  In fact, one can often see him in the tasting room while visiting one of the winery locations.  His Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon is still considered to be one of the best California Cabs by many wine experts.

The Wine – 100% Chardonnay, the 2009 Mikulaco Ridge is very reminiscent to white Burgundy.  There is ripe apple and pear on the nose, with just a hint of nuttiness.  On the palate are white peach, lemon curd and a touch of oak.  It is very well balanced and would be fabulous with Brie cheese and a baguette!  This is a very well made wine.

My Experience Visiting the Winery – In 1991 Ridge Vineyards purchased the Lytton Springs vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.  They now produce wines in both this newer location as well as the Monte Bello location.  They have a tasting room in each spot.  I have visited the Lytton Springs location many times, and hope to stop at the Monte Bello tasting room next week!

I’ve always had great experiences visiting Ridge Vineyards.  The staff is warm and friendly.  The Lytton Springs tasting room is housed in a very modern and gorgeous building, with incredible views.  They have some very old Zinfandel vines right outside the building.  And the wines???  They are incredible.

The Journey – The Lytton Springs tasting room is not far from downtown Healdsburg, and is right off of the 101, using the Lytton Springs Road exit.  You can find directions on their website.  It’s hard to miss this eco-sustainable building and winery, which is built of straw bales and vineyard clay and is powered primarily by solar energy.

The Monte Bello tasting room is located about 20 miles west of San Jose, CA.

Visit their website at:

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