Ridge 2010 Estate Merlot
2010 Estate Merlot, bottled August 2012
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
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
Rainfall: 33 inches (average)
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
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.
||60 cases/pallet (15 per layer)
SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)
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)
review online at VinousMedia.com (may require subscription)
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
(Group Score: 16.1 of 20 points, 0/3/0; My
Score: 17 (90/100), fourth place)