For a lover of wines which express something of the intellectual and particular personality of the winegrower, which truly reflect their terroir, and which originate from a peculiar, sustainable business plan, Monte Bello is ideal. Authored by Paul Draper, famously a philosophy graduate, these wines are some of the few in Northern California grown on limestone rock, which is an ideal vine growing medium. Ridge is one of those rare companies of its size which doesn`t have ambitions to take over the world and which has always farmed in a way which is more than responsible to the environment. Unusually too, Ridge have full-time vineyard workers housed on the estate. Draper is CEO, and reports to Akihiko Otsuka, an ideal owner who only turns up once a year and interferes hardly a jot. The Cabernet Sauvignons are what Ridge and Draper are famous for in Europe, and are the main reason he has picked up so many lifetime achievement awards here. He is, one feels, slightly resentful about the awards; he says `it means you`re getting to the end of the road`. He certainly isn`t. He`s the man `who deserves much of the credit for making Zinfandel famous`, whose initial foray into Zinfandel was sparked by a shortage of Cabernet. Now rightly regarded as a Zin pioneer, especially for the single vineyard examples.From our email 30/3/2006 With a history stretching back to 1886, Ridge is one of California`s classic wineries. Paul Draper (winemaker for all but 84 of those years!) has built himself a legendary reputation. His adherence to Old World, minimal-interventionist techniques together with a rigid devotion to quality ensures that all his offerings are unique and distinctive. His Geyserville and Lytton Springs put lie to claims that Zinfandel can`t age or respond to terroir. His Cabernet Monte Bello is one of California`s greats.