Ridge first made merlot in 1974 from the Point, the highest, most exposed block on the
Monte Bello vineyard at an elevation of 2600’. Originally, we wanted to see if the varietal
could match the quality of, and be included in, the Monte Bello. 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.
Harvest Dates: 11 October - 15 November
Grapes: Average Brix 24.0˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, 100% whole berries. Natural primary and natural
secondary (malolactic) fermentations. Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 5% air dried american oak, 5% french; 18% new, 82% one year old.
Aging: Twenty-one months in barrel.
Rainfall: 18 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall.
Sustainably farmed, hand harvested, estate-grown grapes; destemmed, left as whole
berries; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring
bacteria; 0.29mg/L calcium carbonate added to four of seven lots; 0.9% water added
to three of seven lots; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur (30 ppm
initially, 85 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
Deep purple/ruby color. Ripe blackberry fruit, cola, exotic spice, eucalyptus.
Elegant entry; full body, with black currant fruit, dried herbs, firm acid; red
fruit and sweet oak in a lingering finish.