94 Points – Wine Spectator
94 Points – Owen Bargreen
Santa Cruz Mountains
Golden straw color, notes of citrus, vanilla and apple on the nose. Medium to full-bodied on the palate with pear fruit, good minerality, a hint of honey and a long clean finish. JO (1/22)
Harvested over a three week period, all of the grapes were immediately pressed as whole clusters and sent to barrel to ferment. After completing primary and secondary fermentation, eleven lots from the Klein and Rousten vineyards were assembled and then returned to barrel to age for five more months prior to bottling. This rich, elegant chardonnay is enjoyable upon release and over the next five to six years. JO (11/21)
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 and were taken out. The younger vines, planted in the ‘70s, provide the majority of grapes today. Initially 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” and these vines have long since been included. Since 2009 the wine has been designated 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: 22.4 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Rains in March and April helped the vines get through the summer. We were just starting harvest when the heat and fires hit in August.
Harvest Dates: 22 August – 14 September
Grapes: Average Brix 22.5˚
TA: 5.55 g/L
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Barrels: 80% air-dried American oak barrels, 20% French Oak (15% new, 20% one year-old, 40% three years-old, and 25% five years-old).
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel
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 (35 ppm at crush, 71 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.
Wine Spectator: 94 Points “Bold, with wonderful intensity, this white features a core of peach, pineapple and toasted spice notes that show overtones of salted butterscotch. The body is buttery and smooth, with a hint of white flowers and Honecrisp apple on the finish, while a touch of beeswax and nutmeg lingers. Drink now through 2030.” -M.W. (May 2022)
OwenBargreen.com: 94 Points “The 2020 ‘Estate’ Chardonnay by Ridge was entirely sourced from the Monte Bello Estate Vineyard and definitely improves in terms of flavor density and flavor range after two hours of air. This Chardonnay exudes class with great aromatic range from buttered popcorn and ripe banana tones alongside Challah bread and suggestions of nectarine rind. The palate is very elegant and shows a Burgundian sense of finesse, with lovely salty undertones and a ripe core of melon and citrus fruits. Finishing very long, this outstanding new Chardonnay will be sure to cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2022-2032” -Owen Bargreen (March 2022)
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