2009 Estate Merlot
Ridge 2009 Estate Merlot
2009 Estate Merlot, bottled June 2011
14.2% alcohol by volume
Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (back label) -
Ridge made a merlot from the Monte Bello vineyard in
1974, 1976, and from 1991 to 1997; this is our first
bottling since then. In the excellent 2009 vintage, the
Casa Grande parcel and the six-acre merlot section of
25 Acre were fermented separately, and combined for
this limited release. Quarterly racking off the lees
clarified the wine naturally, and maintained its
freshness. Intense fruit allowed the use of seventy-five
percent new american oak barrels, adding hints of
spice. A variety known for its elegance, this
approachable merlot will be enjoyable over the next
decade. EB (3/11)
Tasting Notes - Garnet color. Wonderfully scented
cherry fruit, vanilla bean, sweet caramel toasted oak.
Very drink able. Bright cherry fruit, supple tannins,
moderately long finish. -Eric Baugher (2/12)
Ridge first made merlot in 1974 from the exposed Point vineyard,
planted on Monte Bello Ridge at an elevation of 2600'. Originally,
we wanted to see if the varietal could match the quality of, and be
included in, our estate cabernet. Once satisfied that it could, we
planted more merlot over the years as space and resources allowed.
From 1975 on, it has been a part of the Monte Bello whenever
assemblage tastings so indicated. As the younger plantings matured,
it became apparent that not only did merlot complement the Monte
Bello, but also had the structure and complexity to merit a separate
First RIDGE Merlot: 1974
Location: Monte Bello Ridge, overlooking 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' - 1900'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with
clay/loam over fractured limestone sub-soils.
Age of Vines: Oldest 1949; further plantings in
1968/9, 1972, 1982, 1987/8, 1990, 1995, 1997/8.
Training: Head-trained, cane-pruned. Vertical trellis.
Irrigation: Non-irrigated. (Exception: new vines receive
drip irrigation until established.)
Climate: Cool, mountainous â€” between the
Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally south/southeast
Yields: 1.9 tons per acre
Farming: Sustainably farmed
Rainfall: 28 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Cool spring; warm summer and fall, short growing season.
Harvest Dates: 28 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6°
Fermentation: Destemmed/ whole berry. Natural primary and
natural secondary (malolactic). Pressed at eight
Barrels: 75% new, 25% one year old. 100% air dried
Aging: Twenty months in barrel
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested.
Destemmed whole-berry fermented on the native yeasts, followed
by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum
effective sulfur (30 ppm initially to barrels, 95 ppm over the
course of aging). Fresh egg white fining for tannin reduction was
done using six egg whites-per-barrel. Pad filtered at bottling. In
keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum
of our actions.