I wholeheartedly recommend holidaying in the company of a wine expert. Good wineries are researched, appointments are made, and all I have to do is turn up and taste the wine.
Ridge Winery makes an award-winning red called Monte Bello which was one of the wines chosen for the famous blind tasting in 1976, known as the Judgement of Paris. Californian wines were pitted against French wines, and the French expert tasters picked Californian wines as the winners in both the red and white categories, much to their chagrin and disbelief once the results were announced. In 1976 Ridge came fourth in the contest, and when the blind tasting was repeated with the same wines thirty years later, it came first. So we decided it was definitely worth the detour to visit this winery for a tasting.
The winery is high up in the Santa Cruz mountains, where the walking tracks have information for walkers on important things like what to do if you encounter a mountain lion.
Luck was with us, and our lion fighting skills weren’t put to the test. But when we arrived at the winery, there was another sign just inside the gates …
Yikes – two potential encounters with death before we’ve even had a sniff of wine! No wonder all wine bottles come with a government health warning – there’s a serious chance that you may not make it out alive if you visit a winery.
Fortunately the tasting itself was a lot less dangerous. Olivia pronounced the wines excellent, and once I’d realised that the Judgement of Paris had nothing to do with Greek mythology, and Ridge Winery was not responsible for starting the Trojan war, it was a very interesting and educational experience.
On the basis my visit to Ridge, I’ve decided to write to the Surgeon General to suggest that he amends the health warning on wine bottles. I’m proposing a change from ‘consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause health problems’ to ‘consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause significantly fewer health problems if you arrive at the winery in an armoured car.’