2004 Chardonnay Monte Bello

Ridge 2004 California Chardonnay Monte Bello®

2004 Chardonnay, Monte Bello, bottled March 2006
100% chardonnay
14.7% alcohol by volume

2004 Chardonnay Monte Bello

In 1962, when the number of fine California white wines could be counted on one hand, Ridge made its first Monte Bello Chardonnay. Not every vintage produces a Monte Bello — recently, only 1999, 2000, and 2003. In 2004, after a wet winter, the vines flowered and set significantly earlier than usual. This, coupled with a mild summer, brought ripe flavors by early September — also ahead of schedule. Each of the ten small parcels and sub-parcels was picked separately and whole-cluster pressed. The lots were racked to barrel, then spent three months in our cool underground cellars, fermenting to dryness on their own yeasts. A natural malolactic followed, finishing in late spring, when we selected three small, exceptional lots for this Monte Bello. Racked off the lees in August, the wines were returned to barrel and tank for six additional months of aging and settling, enabling us to bottle without filtration. This complex chardonnay is enjoyable now, but is still very young. It will develop more fully over the next five years. EB/PD (1/06)

Tasting Notes - July 2007

Color: Golden sun-bleached straw
Nose: Braised pear, freshly sliced apple, honey, anise, toasted brioche, caramel, wet flint minerality, and citrus blossom.
Palate: Rich oily texture, full bodied, firm acid, focused fruits, beautiful finesse and balance, well-defined structure, and highly complex through the finish.

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Information on other vintages: 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2004 | 2003 | 2000


In 1949 William Short, retired theologian and then-owner of the Ridge "middle" vineyard (2100'- 2400'), planted several acres of chardonnay; these vines provided the 1962 Monte Bello for the Ridge partners' first vintage. During the next twenty-three years small amounts of chardonnay were produced each year under the Monte Bello name.


Harvest Dates: 6 September - 10 September
Harvest Conditions: Average Brix 24.7°
Fermentation: Whole-cluster pressed. Juice aerated and racked to barrel for natural primary and secondary.
Aging: 76% air-dried american oak barrels and 24% french oak barrels (28% new, 45% two years, 27% three years)
Time in Barrel: Nineteen months


Monte Bello map

First RIDGE Chardonnay Monte Bello: 1962
Location: Monte Bello Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Area, overlooking San Francisco Bay.
Elevation: 1400 - 1990'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan rock mixed with clay, laid over fractured limestone.
Vines: 18.3 acres, eight to twenty-eight years old.
Training: Head-trained, cane-pruned. Vertical trellis.
Irrigation: 74% not irrigated, 26% drip irrigated.
Climate: Cool, mountainous — between the Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally east/southeast

Growing Season

Rainfall: 75% below normal at 26"
Bloom: Early budbreak, due to dry soil and a warm March.
Weather: Good weather at budbreak, but a cold April slowed growth. Bloom in May; moderate temperatures through harvest.


Bottle   UPC   Packaged   SRP   Notes
750mL   744442401000   12x750mL   $60   56 cases/pallet (14 cases per layer)

SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)
Monte Bello® is a registered trademark of Ridge Vineyards, Inc. in the US and other countries.


  • Vinous Media logo Vinous Media (July 2014): "The 2004 Chardonnay Monte Bello is an intriguing wine, to say the least. Slight elements of Burgundian-like reduction need time in the decanter to dissipate before the wine starts to show the full breadth of its personality. Once it opens up, the 2004 is deep, powerful and intense to the core. Yellow stone fruits, hazelnuts, mint, spices, butter, pastry and tropical fruit all meld together effortlessly. At ten years of age, the 2004 is nowhere near decline. If anything, it still has many years of life ahead." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 94)
    Read review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
  • San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate (8 Feb 2008): "White wines can hold as much complexity as a red wine, with endless subtle nuances. Try the Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay and you can spend the evening dissecting its complexity." -Christina Kelly Read article at SFGate.comArticle