great wine is worth sharing : ridge monte bello

Early last summer I had the pleasure of attending a blogger wine tasting at Ridge Vineyards. The tasting was hosted by the charismatic Christopher Watkins, Ridge Monte Bello’s manager of hospitality and retail sales, a guy who knows his wine and how to blend words beautifully. After warming our palate with a bottle of 2008 Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay, and having an assortment of cheeses to nibble on, we embarked on a vertical blind wine tasting of eleven Ridge Monte Bello vintages that were released over several decades. The event was fabulous and an opportunity to experience the art of wine tasting.

The bottles were initially wrapped in brown paper bags. Each wine was poured with ample time to savor each and review its appearance, complexity, characteristics and finish. We all jotted down copious notes about each wine, hypothesizing aloud and sharing keen observations. The bottle were reveled only after all eleven wines were tasted.

It was clear to pick out the more mature wine by color and taste. The 1977 wine was nearly brown along with noticeable sediment and you could taste the years on your palate, while the youngest wine, the 2010 yet unreleased impressed us all greatly with it’s vivacious color and bouquet.

Much time has passed since the actual tasting, though it was undoubtedly a memorable experience. A recent novel idea caught my attention which motivated me to capture the event, beyond just in pictures, and hence this post.

Preserving the wine labels, from any event or a favorite bottle is a brilliant way to make a memory last. I was fortunate I brought a few bottles home from that day and saved them. Since it was my first blogger tasting, I thus decided the first entry in my new notebook would be dedicated to Ridge and a good excuse to finally share the experience.

With food I often say you eat with your eyes, and capturing morsels of food is feasible through photos. For wine, photography certainly helps tell a story; visuals help paint a picture. Taking great photos whether it be of food, or wine, is an art as well. No doubt though that words truly convey the taste of a wine. To vicariously enjoy Ridge Monte Bello and enjoy thoughts from that day, I recommend reading Blind Tasting 11 Vintages of Ridge Monte Bell by Fred Swan. More wonderful reads from the tasting and about Ridge by bloggers including Richard Jennings and David Tong are noted below.

Drinking wine may be a timely event, but the experience can linger and make a lasting impression. Participating in wine tastings with a range of participants from sommeliers and aficionados to the wine enthusiasts is a great way to share, learn, and nurture a passion for wine. Capturing notes and the memories makes the art of wine more accessible, for everyone.

A partial list of wine and food bloggers who joined the event including our host:
Christopher Watkins 4488 A Ridge Blog
Fred Swan NorCal Wine
Richard Jennings RJonWine
Dave Tong SCM Wine
Louis Villard SpiltWine
Mel Wine Maven in Training
Sheri Pork Cracklins

Enjoy more yum, would love to see you on Facebook:
And leave a note, I appreciate them all!

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6 Responses to great wine is worth sharing : ridge monte bello

  1. Martin D. Redmond March 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Great post! I especially appreciate the photos. I attended the Fall Blogger tasting at Lytton Springs and it too was an education, fun event. I love how you included the labels in your notebook. When I first started on my wine journey I tried to do that, but found it too challenging to get the label off the bottles. Do you have a secret for doing that?

  2. Orly March 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Thanks for the wonderful note Martin! Delighted you like the post and photos. Making wine more accessible for everyone means more people to enjoy it with, and tapping into experts is a great way to learn more. Sounds like you had a similar experience!

    The labels were not easy to remove from the bottles. The trick is to steam them off slowly. The heat and moisture is key. I’ve already collected more labels in the notebook and hope to share more wine posts soon. ~cheers!

  3. Rich Reader March 7, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Ridge Vineyards continues to wow the world with great program design in their tasting rooms.

  4. Orly March 7, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Indeed they do!

  5. Wandering Wino March 10, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    This looks like a very fun time! I had a ’94 Ridge Zin (forgot which) around ’03ish and it was amazing. Thanks for sharing with the cool post!

  6. Orly March 11, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    Thanks Shawn for the note! Great wine. Cheers @awanderingwino