Santa Cruz Mountains
Translucent gold. Green apple, pear, pineapple, honeysuckle, wet stone. Citrus fruit on entry, lemon zest, lively acid, elegant texture; lingering crushed-rock mineral finish.
A dry, mild winter left the vines short of water. Fortunately, summer fog cooled the nights, reducing stress. The grapes from each parcel were whole-cluster pressed and barrel-fermented as separate lots. During malolactic, the lees were stirred twice a month for added complexity. In assemblage tastings, we selected wines from seven small parcels, then racked to tank for natural settling and clarity. Fresh and wonderfully aromatic, this fine chardonnay shows the elegance of firm acidity. It will be at its best over the next six to eight years. EB (9/14)
Ridge produced its first chardonnay in 1962 from fully-mature vines planted in the late 1940s on the Monte Bello estate vineyard. Production never exceeded ten barrels, and Monte Bello chardonnay was sold principally at the winery. Several great vintages, among them the 1973, ’74, ’79, and ’84, showed that our cool climate and fractured limestone sub-soils were well suited to the varietal. By 1985, the old vines were producing less then a half-ton per acre; the younger ones, planted in the ’70s, provided the majority of grapes. These newer plantings were on the “lower” vineyard not yet farmed as part of the Monte Bello estate so the wine was called “Santa Cruz Mountains.” The vines are long since included in the estate; with this vintage, the name becomes Ridge Estate Chardonnay. In years when differences among lots are sufficient to warrant a separate bottling, we make a limited amount of Monte Bello Chardonnay as well.
Rainfall: 20.5 inches (below average)
Weather: Moderate summer and fall
Harvest Dates: 4 – 5 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Selection: Seven of the ten Monte Bello vineyard chardonnay parcels.
Barrels: 17% new, 14% one year old, 12% two year old, 57% three, four and five years old. 85% air-dried american oak, 15% french oak.
Aging: 11 months in barrel on the lees, and 4 additional months on the lees to settle after assemblage.
Sustainably farmed, hand harvested estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes; whole- cluster pressed; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (30 ppm initially to barrels, 91 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Ingredients: Hand-harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective SO2.
Vinous Media(July 2015): 92 Points. – “The 2013 Chardonnay Estate is classy, understated and polished. Lemon peel, yellow orchard fruit, mint and a gentle hint of spice open up in the glass. A hint of reduction typical of the Ridge Chardonnays is present, which means readers should either cellar the 2013 for at least a few years or give it a good deal of aeration. There is a lot to like in this delicate, delineated Chardonnay from Ridge.” – Antonio Galloni
Average Rating: 90.7
No. of Tasting Notes: 86
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