Hidden Ridge does vertical wine

A vertical vineyard, that’s intriguing. 55 degree slopes, it says on the label. The wines were velvety, rich and smooth. I was reminded of the day some years ago when I wound my way up to Pride Winery on the cusp of a mountain — and discovered boutique-quality wines at far less than Screaming Eagle prices. Turns out, Hidden Ridge is very near Pride Mountain, explained co-owner Casidy Ward. She and her husband bought some land for a second home, then started selling grapes…then succumbed to the lure of having their own winery.
When they released their first wines a few years ago, it was at the Napa Cab standard $75. Now the wines are $40. I’m thinking: snap them up! But why reduce pricing? Is it because Napa Cabernet Sauvignons carry an inflated price to put them in the range of people who buy by price? That’s often true. And it could be true here. It could also be that the winery has gone from producing 1,000 to 3,800 cases. And it could be the economy, too.
The wines have also evolved over time. They’ve added more clones as the years progressed. I sampled the wines at Post 390 in Boston. The 2004 was creamy as well as jammy with a touch of eucalyptus, great with sous-vide filet mignon drizzled with a port sauce, and enhanced with Tuscan kale to bring out the eucalyptus. The 2005 was a rich mixture of strawberry and raspberry juice, slightly thinner, slightly more tannic, matched to a grilled lamb chop.
The 2006 (decanted) carried cocoa, minerality, depth of fruit and mild tannins, tasted with everything but not a clear winner with either. Perhaps we need to wait a year; Hidden Ridge takes the luxury of time with their wines; 2006 is their current vintage

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