Holiday Cheer in a Bottle, or Two, or Three…

Here in beautiful Northern California, winter is soon to be upon us. The signs of seasonal change are all around us at our mountain home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The first nip of a cool breeze blowing across the mountains has been a welcome shift from the abundant hot days of this seemingly never ending summer. The first true rainy days of the year have already come and we are hopeful to be seeing more throughout the winter months. The changing colors of the leaves signal the end of another excellent growing season as the vines eagerly enter their yearly winter slumber. Sleep tight, noble vine. The cycle begins again next spring…

Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello

As the vines begin their sleep, we begin our busiest and most hectic part of the year. People make travel plans for their yearly dinner dates and family gatherings. Decorations are retrieved from attics and crawlspaces and strewn up in festive style. Gifts are purchased, presents are wrapped, and preparations are made for our homes to be invaded by visiting family and friends who come to join us in the celebration of the season.

MBFor Ridge, we celebrate the season with the release of our yearly Holiday Gift Offerings. These offerings not only include special packaging of some current release favorites, but also rare library selections pulled from our climate-controlled cellar. As many of you are aware, Ridge produces wines that are built to age, wines that meet the challenge of time head-on and emerge on the other side as beauties of remarkable grace and unique character. We believe that those with the patience to allow our wines their due time in the bottle are rewarded not only with a wine of great substance, but also an experience that is quite often unforgettable. I cherish every opportunity I get to experience one of these fine older bottlings, especially when I’ve had the hard work of cellaring done for me! And that is exactly what we offer you here.

For many of these wines, this will be the only time which they are made available for purchase, and after the holidays, they are returned to the vault. We hope that these selections will not only provide some insight into the rewards of cellaring our wines, but also inspire you to dig out some older bottles you might have stashed away to enjoy now or even spur you into holding out a bit longer to allow your Ridge wines to reach their full potential.

Here are some highlights for this season:

Estate Cabernet Vertical estate_cab
This vertical of our Estate Cabernet (lovingly nick-named the “baby Monte Bello”) is fantastic insight into the aging potential of our yearly Estate bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon. Though this bottling is assembled with the intention of being softer and more approachable at a younger age, like virtually all our wines, the Estate Cabernet has excellent cellaring potential. For this year’s vertical, we have selected wines from the 2004, 2006, and 2008 vintages, all of which were fantastic years for Monte Bello and produced wines of exceptional character and complexity. This is the one time of year that we release any older bottles of our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (formerly bottled under the “Santa Cruz Mountains” moniker) and these guys sell out QUICK, so act fast!

Lytton_vertLytton Springs Vertical
One of the first “ah-ha” moments I had when I started working here in the Tasting Room at Monte Bello was with an older bottle of Lytton Springs from the 1999 vintage. Up until that point, I was admittedly ignorant to the potential of a well cellared bottle of quality zinfandel. That taste of aged Lytton Springs was the proverbial “cool-aid” that brought me over to the other side and cemented in my mind the greatness of what we do here at Ridge Vineyards with zinfandel. With this vertical of Lytton Springs, I hope that you will experience the depth and beauty of these wines as I did months ago. This vertical includes Lytton Springs from the 2006, 2008, and 2010 vintages, all of which are drinking well now and are sure to offer more pleasurable drinking experiences for years to come.

From the Library From The Library-small
This holiday pack features a set of three wines all from the 2007 vintage, the so-called “vintage of the decade” of the 2000s. 2007 was a year marked by reduced yields and intense varietal flavors due to smaller berry size at harvest. Bold, concentrated wines are the defining characteristic of this vintage, and these wines are no exception. Now, after a few years in our cellar, we feel these wines are showing their full potential. Each gift pack contains a bottle of Carmichael Zinfandel, Ponzo Zinfandel, and Lytton Estate Syrah, all from this spectacular vintage. For those looking to relive the glory of this fantastic year, this offering is simply a must!

Rhone Trio
For those of you in our Advance Tasting Program, you are no stranger to our excellent Rhone varietal wines produced from the Lytton Springs Estate, as well as a few other select vineyards we source fruit from. With this pack, we have made available a couple library selections of these very limited release wines, the 2007 Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache Blend and the 2006 Lytton Estate Grenache. To round out the pack, we’ve thrown in a bottle of one of my favorite releases of the year, the 2012 Buchignani Carignane. This is a great opportunity for current club members to see the future potential of their wines as they reach full maturity, as well as our other Ridge patrons to see what there are missing out on! It’s never too late to sign up for ATP

This is just a taste of what we are offering this season. For a complete list of our holiday holiday_pairingofferings, please check out our website or pay us a visit at Monte Bello or Lytton Springs. We also have available one-bottle and two-bottle gift packs as well as a VERY TEMPTING Holiday Pairing Pack, which contains recipes for a six-course holiday meal paired with six of our current release wines, including the very limited 2013 Lytton Estate Late Harvest Viognier! Of course, all holiday gift offerings come pre-packaged in our very attractive gift boxes and will be shipped out before the gift giving season begins.

Cheers y’all,

Kurt DeLashmet, Retail Sales and Hospitality Lead, Monte Bello

Categories: Wine & The Holidays

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