2004 Chardonnay Monte Bello
Ridge 2004 California Chardonnay Monte BelloÂ®
2004 Chardonnay, Monte Bello, bottled March 2006
14.7% alcohol by volume
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 â€” 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 â€” 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.
backgrounder (244KB PDF) |
label (239KB PDF) |
label shot (62KB GIF) |
bottle shot (2MB JPEG)
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Information on other vintages:
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
Harvest Dates: 6 September - 10 September
Harvest Conditions: Average Brix 24.7Â°
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
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 â€” between the
Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally east/southeast
Rainfall: 75% below normal at 26"
Bloom: Early budbreak, due to dry soil and a warm
Weather: Good weather at budbreak, but a cold April
slowed growth. Bloom in May; moderate
temperatures through harvest.
||56 cases/pallet (14 cases per layer)
SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)
Monte BelloÂ® is a registered trademark of Ridge Vineyards, Inc. in the US and other countries.
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)
review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
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.com