Santa Cruz Mountains
Garnet color. Wonderfully scented cherry fruit, vanilla bean, sweet caramel toasted oak. Very drink able. Bright cherry fruit, supple tannins, moderately long finish. -Eric Baugher (2/12)
Ridge made a merlot from the Monte Bello vineyard in 1974, 1976, and from 1991 to 1997; this is our first bottling since then. In the excellent 2009 vintage, the Casa Grande parcel and the six-acre merlot section of 25 Acre were fermented separately, and combined for this limited release. Quarterly racking off the lees clarified the wine naturally, and maintained its freshness. Intense fruit allowed the use of seventy-five percent new american oak barrels, adding hints of spice. A variety known for its elegance, this approachable merlot will be enjoyable over the next decade. EB (3/11)
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 bottling.
Rainfall: 28 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Cool spring; warm summer and fall, short growing season.
Harvest Dates: 28 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6
Fermentation: Destemmed/ whole berry. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic). Pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 75% new, 25% one year old. 100% air dried american oak.
Aging: Twenty months in barrel
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed whole-berry fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (30 ppm initially to barrels, 95 ppm over the course of aging). Fresh egg white fining for tannin reduction was done using six egg whites-per-barrel. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (November-December 2012): “Dark ruby. Assertive aromas of raspberry, cherry and fresh flowers, with vanilla and mint accents building with air. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering gently sweet red fruit flavors and a hint of candied rose. Shows very good energy and clarity on the long, vanilla-tinged finish. This wine was sourced from 13 acres’ worth of parcels within the Monte Bello vineyard that yielded a total of only 25 tons of fruit.” (Rated: 91)
Wine Advocate (Issue 202, August 2012): “The 2009 Merlot Estate is a very beautiful wine that reflects more Santa Cruz Mountains personality than varietal character. Dark red fruit, tobacco and mintare woven together in this bright, generous, beautifully articulated wine. The Merlot is made from two parcels planted at 1,300 and 2,000 feet of elevation in the Jimsomare property, which is now part of the Ridge estate. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.” -Antonio Galloni, (Rated: 90)
Average Rating: 90.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 69
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