Santa Cruz Mountains
Winter ended abruptly in February, prompting bud-break and the start of the growing season. Fortunately, a few late spring storms provided sufficient water to get the vines through a dry summer. This is our coolest zinfandel-growing site, and is always the last picked, yet this year it ripened fully when half our Sonoma zinfandels were still on the vine. Elegant and complex, this superb wine will develop fully over the next ten to twelve years.
Since the late 1960s, Ridge has made small quantities—ranging from five to seventeen barrels—of wine from this nineteenth-century vineyard. A number of you are familiar with our Jimsomare Zinfandel.
The vines were planted by Alsatian Pierre Klein, a San Francisco restaurateur. While famous for his Bordeaux-varietal wines, which won gold medals at the Paris Exposition of 1900, it was his zinfandel plantings that survived Prohibition and the Depression.
In 1936, San Francisco’s Schwabacher family purchased Klein’s Mira Valle property, re-naming it “Jimsomare,” for James (father and son), Sophie (wife and mother), and Marie Louise (daughter). In 1966, vineyard manager Elmano Homem pruned the long-neglected vines, and brought the vineyard back to life. Ridge first harvested the zinfandel in 1968. We shared in replanting the cabernet vineyards adding some chardonnay acreage as well and took over the farming of the ranch in 1996; it is now considered the “lower” (1400′ – 2000′) Monte Bello vineyard.
Rainfall: Eighteen inches (below average)
Bloom: Mid June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall.
Harvest Date: 8 October
Grapes: Average brix 24.7
Fermentation: Grapes are destemmed and fully crushed; fermented with a floating cap and pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (18% new, 34% three years old, 48% four years old).
Aging: Sixteen months in barrel.
All estate grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (25ppm at crush, 87 ppm over the course of aging); aged in oak; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 92.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 48
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