Santa Cruz Mountains
Sun-bleached straw; crushed limestone, citrus blossom, quince, pear, and lemon zest; elegant, textured, firm acid, bright citrus, mint, ginger, long refreshing finish.
A late start and cool summer delayed ripening. The grapes were whole-cluster pressed, and the juice put to barrel in the cold lower cellar. As natural primary fermentations finished and malolactic began, the barrels were stirred every two weeks. In August, three parcels were combined — sixty percent from the steep terraces of Middle Block (1850′), thirty percent from Upper Block (2028′), and ten percent from Two Acre (1400′). This elegant chardonnay will continue to develop over the next ten years. EB (1/12)
In 1949 William Short, retired theologian and then-owner of the Ridge “middle” vineyard (2070′ – 2390′), planted several acres of chardonnay, which provided the 1962 estate Monte Bello Chardonnay for the Ridge partners’ first vintage. From 1962 to 1984, four to eight barrels of chardonnay were produced each year under the Monte Bello designation. By 1985, younger, replanted vines had begun to supplant the older vines, whose yields had dropped to a quarter-ton per acre and we changed the designation to Santa Cruz Mountains. By 1999, the young vines had matured; we were able to select in most years several exceptional parcels for a Monte Bello chardonnay, a practice that continues to this day.
Rainfall: 30 inches (average)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: Cool, late spring; cold summer; long, mild fall.
Harvest Dates: 28 September – 16 October
Grapes: Average Brix 23.6
Fermentation: Whole-cluster pressed. Juice aerated and racked to barrel for natural primary and secondary.
Selection: Three of the Monte Bello vineyard chardonnay parcels.
Barrels: 90% air-dried american oak and 10% french oak barrels (14% new, 31% one and two years, 56% three and four years old.
Aging: Eleven month
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Whole cluster pressed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (30 ppm at the press, 45 ppm over the course of aging); unfiltered. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Vinous Media (July 2013): “Crushed rocks, flint, jasmine and white stone fruits form the backbone of the 2010 Chardonnay Monte Bello. Still very tight and backward, the 2010 is going to require a measure of patience, but it is striking, even today. A bright, crystalline finish rounds things out in style. The 2010 is shaping up to be another classic from Ridge, but it will also require a measure of patience.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 94)
Average Rating: 92.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 42
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