Santa Cruz Mountains
Sun-bleached straw; lemon rind, braised pear, dried fig, ginger root, crushed rock; citrus fruit on entry, honeysuckle, zesty acid, oily texture, and a lingering wet stone mineral finish.
Drenched by spring rains, the vines began their growing season later than usual, and cold summer weather pushed ripening back still further. Harvested on October 17, and whole-cluster pressed, the juice was put in barrel to ferment slowly in our cool nineteenth-century cellar. Based on September tastings, Two Acre parcel was chosen for this Monte Bello. Fully ripe, the wine shows the mineral nuance of limestone sub-soils. This fine vintage will develop further over the next ten to fifteen years. EB (12/12)
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: 36 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall, long, cool growing season.
Harvest Dates: 17 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.2
Fermentation: Whole-cluster pressed. Natural primary and secondary.
Selection: 100% Monte Bello vineyard chardonnay parcels.
Barrels: 90% air-dried american oak and 10% french oak barrels (32% new, 8% two years, 56% three and four years old.
Aging: Eleven months in barrel
Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; minimum effective SO2.
Sustainably grown Monte Bello estate grapes, hand harvested; whole cluster pressed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (25 ppm at the press, 20 ppm over the course of aging); oak from barrel fermentation and aging; bottled without filtration. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
International Wine Report (October 2014): “The 2011 Monte Bello Chardonnay immediately grabs your attention with seductive aromas of poached pear, tropical fruits. cherry blossoms, vanilla, toasted almonds, honeycomb, herbs and flinty minerality. It continues to impress on the palate with its rich, creamy texture and impeccable balance from start to finish. This is already offering so much character and I only expect to evolve even further over the next decade any beyond. Absolutely delicious! (Best 2014-2026)” (Rated: 94)
Vinous Media (July 2014): “Ridge’s 2011 Chardonnay Monte Bello is laced with yellow stone fruits, honey, almonds, honeysuckle and butter. A surprisingly rich, dense wine, especially within the context of the year, the 2011 should age beautifully based on its pure depth. The oily, textured finish suggests some presence of botrytis although there is none. In this vintage, winemaker Eric Baugher chose to give Chardonnay a little more time on the lees.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 93)
Average Rating: 91.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 39
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