Ridge Vineyards Word Association

Decided to have a bit of fun today, and when one wants fun, what better way than with a quick round of Word Association!

Our victims today are the bright, brilliant, congenial, and above all patient Monte Bello Tasting Room Staff. Sure is ducky to work on a Post-Passport Sunday!

Anyhow, let the games begin!

I’m going with an alphabetic architecture today; the following 26 words will comprise our game’s lexicon (all of which are in some way or another, directly or obscurely, relate to Ridge Vineyards) …

Alicante Bouschet

Buchignani Ranch

Cabernet Franc

Dusi Ranch

East Bench

Fermentation, Natural Yeast


Home Ranch

Independence School



Lytton Springs

Monte Bello





Ranch, Mazzoni Home





Whitten Ranch


York Creek


Here is how it goes; each staffer is invited into my office. I rattle off each of the above 26 words, and record each of their (hopefully spontaneous!) responses. I have one of the staffers do me, so I’m one of the respondents as well.

Ok, we’re done. I won’t bore you with every single association, but I will give you a summary of the responses to each term. Quite interesting, some of this. A lil’ session on the couch with the Ridge staff! And I should note, by the way, that 6 staffers played along …

Alicante Bouschet – not alot of unity in the responses to this one, though 2 said “red.” Sammy Hager will be happy.

Buchignani Ranch – 6 totally different responses, though 4 could together make a decent tasting note: “dusty, old vine, Sonoma, carignane.”

Cabernet Franc – No unity here either, but another interesting tasting note, if you put 3 responses together: “big, floral, watermelon.” Hmmm …

Dusi Ranch – Everyone definitely came together here; 4 “sweets,” a “residual sugar,” and “juicy.”

East Bench – Bit odd, this one. 1 said “big,” and 1 said “light.” Maybe that’s “light” in the spiritual sense?

Fermentation, Natural Yeast – My two favorite responses? “Yummy” and “dough.”

Geyserville – Weirdest response? “Seeds.”

Home Ranch – Weird again here, running the gamut from “my favorite” to “security.”

Independence School – Definitely got unity again here, with 3 “old schools”. Plus, one rather unimaginative “independence.”

Jimsomare – No unity at all, but definitely 2 favorites: “1300” (which I presume to be a reference to altitude) and “funky.” Which was my word.

Klein – Got good unity here; pretty much everyone referenced the historic Klein Vineyards on Monte Bello, though each did so with a different term.

Lytton Springs – Interesting. Got both “pretty” and “masculine.” Nice to see our gender stereotypes expanding!

Monte Bello – 5 references, in one form or another, to our flagship wine (including the word “flagship”) and 1 “Italy.” Hmmm …

Nervo – “Earthy,” “tobacco,” and “zin.” Yup, that’s about it!

Oltranti – Compliments to the staffer who said “Mazzoni!” Do you know how that connects?

Ponzo – Great tasting note aggregate here: “Spicy, pepper, acid, Russian River, Zinfandel.”

Quince – 3 very different responses here: “Am I invited?” “Best fruit ever” and “Daniel.” Plus, three rather less imaginative responses: “Fruit,” “fruit,” and “Quince.”

Ranch, Mazzoni Home – My favorite response? “Fennel!”

Syrah – If I had to pick a favorite here, I’d go with “black.” But again, no unity; 6 totally disparate answers.

Trentadue – Definitely points for the most obscure response; “Heart’s Desire.” Anyone out there catch this one?

Ullage – Definitely need to do some re-training! 4 of 6 gave some version of “I have no idea what that is” …

Viognier – Unity! It’s about time! 3 for “floral” …

Whitten Ranch – Unity again; 3 for “Geyserville,” plus 1 “Sonoma.”

XLE – Nice! 5 of 6 immediately recognized this as the bottle code for the Syrah/Grenache blend from our Lytton Estate and responded accordingly. And 1 staffer said “Beautiful.” Which is of course the correct answer!

York Creek – Good tasting note potential here too: “Big, Ageable, Awesome.” Plus, a second “Big.”

Zinfandel – I’ll pick “primitivo” as my favorite response here, though interestingly enough, 6 totally different answers!

And THAT … is Ridge Vineyards Word Association. Brought to  you by the letters R & V.

On a whim, I just went online looking for a word association generator, and shortly therafter discovered the world of WordStorm. Here is what you get when you enter wine:

Suddenly I’m very hungry for olives.

Yeah, that’s the stuff …

Categories: Cabernet Franc, Geyserville, History, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, RIDGE Questionnaire, RIDGE Staff, Syrah, Varietals & Blends, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine Tales, Zinfandel

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