2020 Estate Merlot

2020 Estate Merlot

Wine Information

90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon




Monte Bello


Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Dark ruby color with aromas of red plum, black currants, cedar, fig and sweet toasted oak. Medium bodied with focused and integrated tannins. Fresh natural acidity leads to a long and age-worthy finish. TG (11/22)

Vintage Notes

The short merlot crop ripened quickly during a warm August. By the second week of September we harvested the Klein Casa Grande parcel which makes up the majority of this wine. Daily pumpovers for six days provided ample color and tannin; we pressed at day seven. This mountain merlot is enjoyable as a young wine with the structure to evolve fully over ten years. JO (5/22)


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: 22.4 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Mid June
Weather: Decent rains in December led to dry weather in January and February. A very wet March and April helped the vines during the growing season. Unsettled weather in June saw several heat spikes in between cool spells. The rest of the summer was mild until the middle of August when very hot temperatures and dry lightning ignited wildfires throughout northern California, followed by more warm weather in September.


Harvest Dates: 15 September & 8 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.1˚
TA: 7.02 g/L
pH: 3.51
Fermentation: Grapes de-stemmed, 100% whole berries. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (30% new and 70% one year old).
Aging: Eighteen months in barrel

Hand-harvested, estate-grown grapes; de-stemmed, 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, 86 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.

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 91.1

No. of Tasting Notes: 14

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