Ridge 2012 Chardonnay Estate
2012 Estate Chardonnay, bottled October 2013
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
14.5% alcohol by volume
Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (Back Label Text) -
A mild winter, early bud-break, and early-April
bloom gave us an unusually large crop,
which we thinned rigorously; warm summer
weather pushed ripening for a September
harvest. Whole-cluster pressed, the lots fermented
in barrel, and were stirred every two
weeks from January to April during natural
malolactics. The wine was racked off its gross
lees in June, tasted, and assembled. Ripe fruit
is balanced by naturally high acidity in this
appealing wine. It will be at its best over the
next five to eight years.
Tasting Notes - Pale gold. Tropical notes of ripe pineapple, fig, honeysuckle.
Sweet entry; rich, oily texture. Full-bodied, with crisp acidity. Strong apple/pear
fruit in an intense finish. -Eric Baugher (1/14)
Video Tasting Note
Presented by winemaker Eric Baugher
Ridge produced its first chardonnay in 1962 from fully-mature vines
planted in the late 1940s on the Monte Bello estate vineyard. Production
never exceeded ten barrels, and Monte Bello chardonnay was sold principally
at the winery. Several great vintages, among them the 1973, ‘74, ‘79,
and ‘84, showed that our cool climate and fractured limestone sub-soils
were well suited to the varietal. By 1985, the old vines were producing
less then a half-ton per acre; the younger ones, planted in the ‘70s,
provided the majority of grapes. These newer plantings were on the “lower”
vineyard not yet farmed as part of the Monte Bello estate so the wine was
called “Santa Cruz Mountains.” The vines are long since included in the
estate; with this vintage, the name becomes Ridge Estate Chardonnay. In
years when differences among lots are sufficient to warrant a separate
bottling, we make a limited amount of Monte Bello Chardonnay as well.
First vintage: 1985 (as Santa Cruz Mountains); 2009 (as new Estate designation)
Location: Monte Bello Ridge overlooks San Francisco
from the Santa Cruz Mountains, an appellation
separating the North Coast from the Central Coast but not a part of either.
Elevation: 1400' - 2000'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with clay/loam
over fractured limestone sub-soils
Vines: 23.3 acres, planted 1976-2010.
Training: Head trained, cane pruned, vertical trellis, vertical shoot positioned.
Climate: Cool, mountainous — between the
Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally east/southeast
Yields: Two to three tons per acre (full crop)
Farming: Sustainably farmed
Rainfall: 18 inches (below average)
Weather: Moderate summer and fall
Harvest Dates: 10 September - 13 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.5°
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented.
Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Selection: Seven of the ten Monte Bello vineyard chardonnay parcels
Barrels: 19% new, 11% one year old, 7% two year old, 63% three,
four and five years old. 95% air-dried american oak, 5% french oak.
Aging: Nine months in barrel on the lees, and three additional
months on the lees in four year old barrels to settle after assemblage.
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Whole-cluster pressed.
Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring
bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (28 ppm initially to barrels, 76ppm over the course
of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal
intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
||56 cases/pallet (14 per layer)
SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)
Wine Advocate (Issue 215, October 2014): "The beautiful, delicate but powerful 2012 Chardonnay Estate Monte Bello Vineyard (100%
Chardonnay) achieved 14.5% natural alcohol. It exhibits notes of white currants, quince, pineapple and
white peach. Medium to full-bodied with good acidity and freshness, and the oak pushed to the
background, this beauty can be enjoyed over the next 5-6 years."
Vinous Media (July 2014): "The 2012 Chardonnay Estate is utterly impeccable. Lemon, white, flowers,
spices, yellow stone fruits, smoke and slate open up nicely in the glass. Readers can look forward to at least a
handful of years of fabulous drinking in this resonant, beautifully layered Chardonnay from Ridge. The Estate
spent a total of 15 months in American oak, on the longer side by California standards." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 92)
review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
Wine Spectator Insider (28 May 2014):
"Rich and well-centered, with ripe apple, melon, cedary oak, spice
and anise notes that are very complete and persistent. Drink
now."-James Laube (Rated: 91)
California Grapevine (Vol. 40, June 2014):
"Medium-light golden yellow color;
attractive, fragrant, moderately intense, baked apple and stone
fruit aroma with tropical and mineral notes and a hint of
vanilla; medium to medium-full body; fleshy, apple and white
peach flavors with good balance and a pleasing mouthfeel;
lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended."
(Group Score: 16.4 of 20 points, 2/3/1; My
Score: 17 (91/100), second place)