2019 Estate Merlot

2019 Estate Merlot

Wine Information

96% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage

2019

Vineyard

Monte Bello

Appellation

Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume

13.8%

Winemaker Tasting Notes

Dark, vibrant red color with aromas of bright red plum, tobacco leaf, cedar, and toasty oak. Red bramble fruit on the palate with supple, fine-grained tannins, lively acidity, and a long finish. JO (7/21)

Vintage Notes

Heavy winter rains followed by a long cool spring delayed budbreak. Warm weather in August and September accelerated ripening for a mid-October harvest. The destemmed grapes were left to ferment for seven days as whole berries. After pressing, the new wine was sent to barrel to complete malolactic and age for a further nineteen months. Focused fruit, elegant tannins and balanced acidity characterize this unique merlot. It will develop over the next ten years. JO (7/21)

History

Ridge first made merlot in 1974 from the Point, the highest, most exposed block on the Monte Bello vineyard at an elevation of 2600′. Originally, we wanted to see if the varietal could match the quality of, and be included in, the Monte Bello. Once satisfied that it could, we planted more merlot over the years as space and resources allowed. From 1975 on, it has been a part of the Monte Bello whenever assemblage tastings so indicated. As the younger plantings matured, it became apparent that not only did merlot complement the Monte Bello, but also had the structure and complexity to merit a separate bottling.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 50.4 inches (above normal)
Bloom: Mid June
Weather: Lots of rain soaked California throughout the winter. Spring rains continued until mid-May. Warm summer weather allowed the large crop to ripen evenly, resulting in an abundant, excellent harvest.

Winemaking

Harvest Dates: 1 – 22 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.7˚
TA: 5.98 g/L
pH: 3.36
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, 100% whole berries. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations. Pressed at six days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (75% new and 25% one year-old).
Aging: Nineteen months in barrel

Hand-harvested, estate-grown grapes; destemmed, left as whole berries; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm initially, 80 ppm over the course of aging). Depth filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.