#RidgeSomms: To Dine In The Valleys

When you are Ridge Vineyards, and you have invited 12 of the best and brightest food & wine luminaries in the country to your estates, you are faced with a daunting question: where do you take them for dinner?

Part I.

If you are Ridge Vineyards/Monte Bello , and you are 2300 feet above The Valley (Silicon Valley, that is!), you go DOWN.

You go DOWN to The Valley.

You go DOWN to Cupertino.

You go DOWN to Alexander’s.


And when you get to Alexander’s, you go find Maxwell Classen.


Maxwell Classen is the Wine Director at Alexander’s Steak House in Cupertino, and he is a very serious cat.


I spent an afternoon with him recently, tasting wine in advance of our #RidgeSomms event, and I was moved.

Max has mojo.

Max has gravitas.

Max is a very deep cat.

You can read a proper bio on Max here: Maxwell Klassen

But that won’t tell you the whole story. You gotta taste wine with the man. Then you’ll really know.


What did we taste? 2000 Monte Bello, and 1995 Monte Bello.

Pairings for the entrée.

The entrée?

Dry-Aged Strip Steak, smoked Maitake mushrooms, Kabayaki butter.

(You may know the Maitake mushroom as Hen-of-the-Woods.  I know it as delicious.)

The Chef?

Gerardo Naranjo.


Chef Gerardo was part of the team that launched Alexander’s in Cupertino. He was Sous Chef then. He’s Executive Chef now.

And he did it the real deal way. He worked at a Farmer’s Market as a boy. He started in restaurants as a dishwasher. He earned a spot as a line cook. He climbed to Sous Chef status. Three times a Sous Chef. Then came Alexander’s.


Executive Chef Gerardo Naranjo has soul.

Wine Director Maxwell Classen has soul.


To find out Chef Gerardo’s full menu, and to get a feel for the Depths of Maxwell, please enjoy the following:


Needless to say,  I am looking very forward to Monday evening.

I am looking very forward to the Tastes of Monte Bello, to the Flavors of Gerardo, to the Depths of Maxwell.

I am looking very forward to #RidgeSomms.

(Stay Tuned for Part II of this “Dine In The Valleys” series; next stop: Dry Creek Valley!)


And with that, we invite you to (virtually!) join us at Alexander’s Monday night, in The Valley, for an evening of all things Ridge, and wine, and food, and Ridge!




Ridge Vineyards Sommelier Symposium, 2013



May 20th & 21st, 2013



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Just filter for #RidgeSomms, and you’re IN!

Categories: Events, Food & Wine Pairing, Monte Bello, Offerings, Social Media, Tasting Events/Opportunities, Video, Wine & Food Pairing, Wine Tales

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