Ridge 2011 Merlot Estate
2011 Estate Merlot, bottled August 2013
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
12.9% alcohol by volume
Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (back label) -
A long winter and harsh weather during bloom
cut merlot yields. Through an unusually cool
summer, our mountain vineyards were in full
sun. Early October rains set the vines back, but
three weeks of warm weather allowed the
grapes to ripen fully. Whole berries fermented
on natural yeasts; natural malolactics started in
tank and finished four months later in barrel. In
blind tastings, four of eight parcels were
selected for this year's Estate bottling. This
sensuous wine will be most enjoyable over the
next six to eight years. EB (6/13)
Tasting Notes - Ruby color. Dried cherry, rhubarb, olive,
sun-dried tomato. Cherry fruit on entry, chaparral, dried herbs,
currant. Firm acid, polished tannins, refreshing finish. -Eric Baugher (1/14)
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' - 2600'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with
clay/loam over fractured limestone sub-soils.
Age of Vines: 52% Fourteen years old(1998),
48% Twenty-five years old (1987).
Training: Head trained, cane pruned, on vertical
trellis, vertical shoot positioned.
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 tons per acre
Farming: Sustainably farmed
Video Profile: Monte Bello Vineyard
The Monte Bello vineyard, narrated by winemaker Eric Baugher. (uploaded to YouTube on 21 October 2014)
Rainfall: 36 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall.
Harvest Dates: 19 October - 2 November
Grapes: Average Brix 23.8°
Fermentation: DDestemmed/whole berry. Natural
primary and natural secondary (malolactic).
Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air dried american oak; 41% new, 59% three and four years old.
Aging: Nineteen and a half 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;
22mg/L calcium carbonate added to two fermentors; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm
initially, 83 ppm during of aging). 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 2014): "The 2011 Merlot Estate is gorgeous. A blast of dark red and
black stone fruits melds into a more typical expression of mountain fruit, with savory herb and floral
notes that develop in the glass. A kick of bracing 2011 acidity supports a finish laced with iron,
smoke, leather and spices. There is plenty to like in this accessible Merlot from
Ridge." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 92)
review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
Quarterly Review of Wines (December 2014) - 32nd Annual Best of the Best: California
Merlot - "An immense wine with currant, plum and cherry in both aroma and
taste. Mild tannins, hint of olive, with a great depth and elegant finish."
-Richard Elia (Rated: Outstanding)
entire article online at QRW.com
Wine & Spirits (October 2014) -
"Ridge's high-elevation vineyards grew a soft, appetizing merlot in 2011, subtly
floral in its aromas, plump and plum-fruited in the middle, mountain tannins tightening
at the end. Built to drink in the new few years with a flank steak." (Rated: 90)
California Grapevine (Vol. 40, November 2014):
"Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive,
forward, black cherry fruit aroma with herbal notes and hints
of black olive and tobacco leaf; medium-full body; tight,
herbal, black cherry fruit flavors with firm structure and good
depth; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Developed
nicely with airing in the glass and should reward another
three to five more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended."
(Group Score: 16.2 of 20 points, 2/1/2; My
Score: 17 (90/100), fourth place)