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; and the wine is designated 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.
Harvest Dates: 4 - 5 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4°
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary
and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Selection: Seven of the ten Monte Bello vineyard chadonnay parcels.
Barrels: 7% new, 14% one year old, 12% two year old, 57% three, four and five years
old. 85% air-dried american oak, 15% french oak.
Aging: 11 months in barrel on the lees, and 4 additional months on the lees to settle
Rainfall: 20.5 inches (below average)
Weather: Moderate summer and fall
Sustainably farmed, hand harvested estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes; whole-
cluster pressed; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (30 ppm
initially to barrels, 91 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping
with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Winemaker Tasting Notes
Translucent gold. Green apple, pear, pineapple, honeysuckle, wet stone. Citrus fruit on entry, lemon zest, lively acid, elegant texture; lingering crushed-rock mineral finish.