Ridge 2010 Estate Merlot

Ridge 2010 Estate Merlot bottle shot

2010 Estate Merlot, bottled August 2012
100% merlot
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
13.2% alcohol by volume

Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (back label) - At Monte Bello, we grow nineteen acres of merlot on seven vineyard parcels between 1350' and 2650' feet of elevation. Each is harvested and fermented separately. In this vintage we selected two small parcels (Casa Grande and Upper Merlot) that produced a more accessible style. By reducing the amount of new oak, we brought the fruit to the fore. This delicious merlot shows rich, brambly flavors, balanced by well-resolved tannins. Enjoyable now, it will develop fully over the next seven or eight years. EB (6/12)

Tasting Notes - Deep ruby color; rich bramble fruit, fennel, black olive, savory dried herbs; smooth entry, round tannins, elegant, medium-to-full body, lengthy finish. -Eric Baugher (1/13)

Video Tasting Note

Presented by winemaker Eric Baugher


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 bottling.


Monte Bello map

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 — between the Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally south/southeast
Yields: 2.9 tons per acre
Farming: Sustainably farmed

Aerial View

View Larger Map

Note: Monte Bello tasting room at this location.

Growing Season

Monte Bello soil

Rainfall: 33 inches (average)
Bloom: Mid-June
Weather: Cool, late spring, cold summer and long, mild fall.


Harvest Dates: 3 - 25 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.5°
Fermentation: Destemmed/whole berry. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic). Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air dried american oak; 30% new, 23% one year old, 47% two and three years old.
Aging: Twenty months in barrel


Estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed whole-berries fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (28 ppm initially, 97 ppm during of aging). A fining of six fresh egg white per barrel to moderate tough tannins. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Bottle UPC Packaged SRP Notes
750mL 744442151004 12x750mL $45 60 cases/pallet (15 per layer)


SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)


  • Vinous Media logo Vinous Media (July 2013): "An excellent choice for drinking over the next few years, the 2010 Merlot Estate is juicy, expressive and beautiful. The 2010 vibrancy and freshness is there, and adds lovely balance to the expressive fruit. The 2010 delivers plenty of Ridge personality. Best of all, readers will neither need to wait for years nor spend huge sums to find pleasure." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 90)
    Read review online at VinousMedia.com (may require subscription)
  • California Grapevine California Grapevine (Vol. 39, September 2013): "Medium to medium-dark ruby; forward, intense, currant and dark cherry fruit aroma with spicy, toasty notes and a hint of vanilla; full body; big, rich, extracted, dark fruit flavors with herbal notes and a plush mouthfee; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Deserves a few more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended."
    (Group Score: 16.1 of 20 points, 0/3/0; My Score: 17 (90/100), fourth place)