Wine Spectator’s Kim Marcus describes his recent visit to Ridge Monte Bello wherein he sits down with Winemaker Eric Baugher for an exploration of Monte Bello Chardonnay and how it evolves over time.
“The journey to Ridge Vineyards in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains is inspiring and fascinating. The estate sits at 1,800 to 2,600 feet above the bustling tech hub of Silicon Valley. As much as Apple and its peers are defining the future of the region, Ridge and its neighbors on the slopes and crest of Monte Bello Ridge represent a connection to the past.
Baugher makes two Chardonnays, an estate bottling and another that carries the Monte Bello designation, made only in years of exceptional quality from select barrels in the cellar. They are variations on a theme—intense, fruity and structured, with an alluring creaminess—yet the Monte Bello provides a shade more power and structure.
Baugher surprised me on my visit with an impromptu vertical tasting, conducted non-blind, of the Monte Bello Chardonnay to show its aging potential. It does so impressively, as my notes and scores attest. All the wines tasted are ready to drink now.”