Announcing the 2013 Ridge Vineyards Wine of the Year!

And what a year it’s been!

So rich with memories, adventures, tales and tastes; can it really be a mere 12 months ago that we were first tasting the 2008 Lytton Estate Syrah? It could be a lifetime ago, and yet again, only yesterday …

And so here were are. December 31st. With 12 months of new wines behind us.

In no particular order, here are the wines we released in 2013:

  1. 2008 Lytton Estate Syrah
  2. 2010 Carmichael Zinfandel
  3. 2011 Jimsomare Chardonnay
  4. 2009 Buchignani Zinfandel
  5. 2009 Mazzoni ZInfandel
  6. 2011 Buchignani Carignane
  7. 2009 Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache
  8. 2007 Dynamite HIll Petite Sirah
  9. 2011 Triangle Carignane
  10. 2010 Lytton Estate Zinfandel
  11. 2011 Geyserville
  12. 2011 Paso Robles Zinfandel
  13. 2011 East Bench Zinfandel
  14. 2011 Lytton Springs Zinfandel
  15. 2011 Ponzo Zinfandel
  16. 2011 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel
  17. 2011 Lytton Estate Primitivo
  18. 2010 Estate Merlot
  19. 2010 Estate Cabernet
  20. 2011 Estate Chardonnay
  21. 2010 Perrone Merlot
  22. 2010 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon
  23. 2010 Rousten Cabernet Franc
  24. 2011 Lytton Estate Petite Sirah
  25. 2010 Monte Bello Chardonnay
  26. 2010 Monte Bello
  27. 2012 Lytton Estate Viognier
  28. 2011 Three Valleys

My lordee, 28 wines??? Well, I suppose that’s what you get when you’re a terroir-minded producer of single-vineyard wines …

But how to winnow down to a favorite? And by what criteria judge? Does one consider context? Vintage? Varietal correctness? Critical acclaim? Public preference? Personal preference? Shock and awe? Price break to quality? So much to think about!

Must be time for … THE ALGORITHM.


Algorithm says ….

Bam! Top 5.

In no particular order:

  1. 2011 Triangle Carignane
  2. 2011 Lytton Estate Primitivo
  3. 2010 Estate Merlot
  4. 2010 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon
  5. 2010 Monte Bello

Remarkable wines, all of them, says I, and so says The Algorithm.

Triangle Carignane. You had me at “old-vine carignane.” But then you said, “old-vine carignane from Geyserville.” Now, you’re Top 5.

Lytton Estate Primitivo. Your genetic backstory alone would nearly have been enough. But that you taste so good, so interesting, so alluring. Now, you’re Top 5.

Estate Merlot. Perfect pure proof of why this great grape is truly one of the nobles. Easy Top 5.

Klein Cabernet Sauvignon. 100% pure mountain cab fruit? Easy Top 5.

Monte Bello. Perhaps obvious; it’s the Monte Bello. Perhaps obvious again, it’s the first Monte Bello I “worked” on. But more than that, it’s just a great vintage for a great wine. So, Top 5.

And now what?

What will be the 2013 Ridge Vineyards Wine of the Year???

And the winner is …

Wait! Before the announcement, you might want to read about last year’s winner! You can find that here: 2012

Ok, here we go.

And the 2013 Ridge Vineyards Wine of the Year is …

The 2010 Klein Cabernet Sauvignon!


There are just so, so, so many things to recommend this wine.

Certainly, it’s exclusive. It’s part of the Historic Vineyard Series!


Certainly it’s rare. Only 11 barrels produced!

And balanced! California Cabernet at 13.2% ABV? Sign me up!

And how about critical support? Truth be told, very, very few critics even got the chance to taste it. Antonio Galloni go to. His rating? 94 points!

And then there’s price break to quality. A $55 California Cabernet Sauvignon practically guaranteed to give you 10-15 years of positive developmental trajectory in the cellar? That’s a lot of wine for the ducats!

But really, none of that really matters. This is really just an excellent, excellent and delicious and special wine. 100% solo-varietal cool-climate mountain Cabernet from the historic Klein vineyards, made in small batch, with close attention and handling, from a cool growing season yielding great acidity, it just doesn’t get much better than this. And when it’s made with as little “touch” as this:

Estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested; destemmed and sorted; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur (30 ppm at crush, 105 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.

Then you’re really just tasting extraordinary fruit from extraordinary vines grown on extraordinary land, in an extraordinary location. Which makes for an extraordinary wine.

So while we loved them all, only one could be crowned the 2013 Ridge Vineyards Wine of the Year. And that wine is …

The 2013 Ridge Vineyards Klein Cabernet Sauvignon.



Pssssst! Inside secret. If you want to start receiving Historic Vineyard Series wines like the Klein Cabernet, you should really join the Collector Program!!! And better yet, if you want guaranteed access to ALL the Historic Vineyards Series Wines, join ALL THREE PROGRAMS!

Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Chardonnay, Grenache, History, Lytton Springs, Merlot, Monte Bello, Petite Sirah, Press Reviews, Rhone varietals, Syrah, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine & Philosophy, Wine & The Holidays, Wine Tales, Zinfandel


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