Becoming a world-class winemaker was not achieved overnight for Erich Russell, winemaker and founder of Rabbit Ridge Winery. Although it appears as though he effortlessly blends some of the best wines in the country, this self-taught master started making wine from a home winemaking kit while teaching school in Southern California.
Dan Berger - from the weekly Wine Commentary states: "Russell is a fascinating character - a graduate of San Jose State and a world-class runner who, while in college, gained a nickname that would end up in the title of his winery. Russell was a pace setter, often going out fast early, and as such dubbed - The rabbit by his teammates.".
One of Erich's first jobs was teaching high school track and field at San Diego High. During the summer of 79', while on summer break, Erich was offered a job at Chateau St. Jean after the winemaker tasted his wine in an amateur winemaking contest. Taking a chance, Erich quit his job and began working in the winery.
In 1981 Erich opened Rabbit Ridge Winery and Vineyards. His first release of Rabbit Ridge Winery were two barrels of Zinfandel and two barrels of Chardonnay. Erich states: "I only made enough wine so that if it didn't sell, I could drink all of it."
Today Rabbit Ridge Winery sells over 300 thousand cases of wine per year, and is distributed in most of the 50 United States.
Rabbit Ridge Winery Zinfandel
This is our second release of red Zinfandel from the west side of Paso Robles. It is a big bodied, jammy red Zinfandel with soft tannin and a round finish. We added subtle additions of Petite Sirah and Syrah to enhance the powerful berry characteristics. Aged in French and American oak for months, this red Zinfandel exemplifies how red Zinfandel should taste. Enjoy our Paso Robles Zinfandel with pronounced flavors of wild blackberry, raspberry, and chocolate.
Rabbit Ridge Winery Merlot
We selected grapes from the famous appellations of Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys in Sonoma County to produce this Merlot. The grapes are hand-picked and then undergo an extended maceration of weeks to assure dark, rich color and full flavors. The wine is then barrel-aged for months in French and American oak, then blended for perfect balance. The result is a full-bodied wine with berry flavors and a lengthy finish. Enjoy this by the glass or with your favorite meat and pasta dishes.
Rabbit Ridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
Our Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from grapes grown on the Cristalla Ranch vineyard on San Marcos Road. It was barrel-aged in French and American oak for months for the perfect balance. A small amount of Petite Sirah was added to create this big, concentrated, dark Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy notes of dark cherry, black currant, cedar, and herbs.
Rabbit Ridge Winery Chardonnay
Our Chardonnay is produced with a combination of grapes from Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County, the Russian River area of Sonoma County and from the Napa Valley. This chardonnay is barrel fermented in American and French oak barrels and then aged in order to give the wine greater mouth-feel and texture. Contributing to the final depth, the wine was induced to go through a secondary or malolactic fermentation. The result is a very affordable wine with pronounced apple flavors and nuances of oak and vanilla. This chardonnay is great by the glass or with your favorite cuisine.