If you’re interested in matters pertaining to clonal selection in the vineyard, then I would like to call your attention to a fascinating article by Jon Bonné that recently ran in The San Francisco Chronicle, in which he takes a close look at some of the idiosyncratic, trend-bucking choices a number of Santa Cruz appellation producers have been making for their vines. And yes, we do make a bit of a cameo on the article!
When replanting the Monte Bello site, Ridge Vineyards eschewed the standard industry-blessed clones, instead investing in a hodgepodge of historic vines.
When it acquired the site in 1959, the existing Cabernet came from the old Fountain Grove site in Sonoma; at least four of those specimens are being cleaned up to be used anew, “just to try to save a little bit more of that genetics,” says David Gates, who runs Ridge’s vineyards.
More recent Cabernet plantings have a lineage back to the old La Questa vineyard founded by Emmet Rixford in the 1880s, which in turn traces its origins to Margaux. The La Questa clones arrived on Monte Bello’s limestone ridge via Mount Eden Vineyards, which we’ll get to in a moment. Even Ridge’s Petit Verdot has a lineage (officially sanctioned) to UC Davis’ long-abandoned Jackson experimental vineyard in the Sierra Foothills.
“We are prejudiced toward clones that have been in California as long as possible,” Draper says.
You can read the full article here.