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Santa Cruz Mountains
Opaque purple color with nose of baked cherry cobbler, ripe plum, crushed rock and exotic oak spices. Rich and full-bodied with dark bramble fruit and lively acidity. EB (2/20)
Winter was short and dry, but a cool summer kept the vines from becoming too water stressed. As flavors intensified in the grapes, we picked on September 30th. During eight days of fermentation, with twice-daily pump overs, a rich and intense wine was made. This intensity required more time in barrel for tannins to soften. It shows complex mountain fruit and firm acid. This excellent vintage will be enjoyable over the next fifteen years.
Since the late 1960s, Ridge has made small quantities—ranging from five to seventeen barrels—of wine from this nineteenth-century vineyard. 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. In the 1970s and 80s we shared in replanting the cabernet vineyards, adding some chardonnay acreage as well, and took over the farming of the ranch in 1996 as part of our Monte Bello Estate. We now refer to it by its original owner’s name as the Klein Ranch. (1400’ – 2000’).
Rainfall: 26 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Winter rains were late to arrive, delivering a season’s worth or rainfall in March. This gave Monte Bello 75% of the 26 inches of rain for the year, which is below normal. Spring remained cold with heavier than usual fog, slowing the progress for a late September harvest.
Harvest Dates: 30 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.7˚
TA: 7.33 g/L
Fermentation: Grapes were destemmed and fully crushed; fermented with a floating cap and pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels. 100% Appalachian Oak; 53 gallon barrels (15% one year-old and 85% four years-old).
Aging: Nineteen 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; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 112 ppm over the course of aging). In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 92.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 10
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