2020 Monte Bello Chardonnay

2020 Monte Bello Chardonnay

Wine Information

100% Chardonnay, Organically Grown

96 Points – Owen Bargreen, OwenBargreen.com
93 PointsWine & Spirits
92 PointsWine Enthusiast




Monte Bello


Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Bright golden hue with aromas of pear, apple blossom, lemon, and wet gravel. Full-bodied with a weighty entry that is lifted by lively acidity and a long, juicy finish. TG (11/22)

Vintage Notes

Mild summer weather cooled by fog ended in late August with several days of intense heat. Given the small crop, flavors ripened fully for a harvest in the first days of September. After barrel fermentation, two lots, one from Rousten and one from Perrone, were selected for their subtle fruit and minerality. Enjoyable upon release, this complex chardonnay will age over the next eight years. JO (3/22)


In the late 1940’s William Short, retired theologian and then-owner of the Ridge Torre vineyard (2070’ – 2390’ elevation), planted several acres of chardonnay, which provided the 1962 estate Monte Bello Chardonnay for the Ridge partners’ first vintage. From 1962 to 1984, four to eight barrels of chardonnay were produced each year under the Monte Bello designation. By 1985, younger, replanted vines had begun to supplant the older vines, whose yields had dropped to a quarter ton per acre and we changed the designation to Santa Cruz Mountains. By 1999, the young vines had matured; we were able to select, in most years, several exceptional parcels for a Monte Bello Chardonnay, a practice that continues to this day.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 22.4 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Average 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 hot temperatures, which continued into early September, expedited ripeness.


Harvest Dates: 1 & 3 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.4˚
TA: 5.88 g/L
pH: 3.55
Fermentation: Grapes whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Barrels: 90% air-dried American and 10% French oak barrels (10% new, 30% three years old, 30% four years old, and 30% five years old).
Aging: Seventeen months in barrel

Hand-harvested, estate-grown, organic Monte Bello grapes; whole cluster pressed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel fermentation and aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at juice barrel down,105 ppm over the course of aging); bottled without filtration. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


OwenBargreen.com: 96 Points “Nothing short of a world-class wine, the 2020 Monte Bello Chardonnay was stored for fifteen months in primarily American oak barrels before bottling in May 2022. The wine is shockingly good to consume now and not needing any air. Weightless on the mid-palate, this offers a gorgeous level of flavor density and flavor complexity, yet is weightless throughout the drinking experience. Roasted pineapple and mango fruit flavors combine with flint, brioche and suggestions of masa on the palate. Try to grab this beautiful Chardonnay while you can, as the near-minute long finish will linger long in your mind. This is one of the great Chardonnays made in North America. Drink 2023-2035.” -Owen Bargreen (October 2023)

Wine & Spirits: 93 Points “From Ridge’s organically farmed estate in the hills of Cupertino, this ferments spontaneously in barrels, 10 percent of them new, 90 percent of them American oak, with the balance of the wood from France. For now, the wine is hiding within its oak, offering lemon-meringue riches in a pale, completely dry chardonnay. While the toast and malolactic characters still dominate, there’s a lot of wine here, needing time to mellow and develop.” -J.G. (March 2024)

Wine Enthusiast: 92 Points “Warm aromas of pineapple, hazelnut, marshmallow and flint introduce the nose to this bottling. The palate is also broadly set, offering cashew, toasted hazelnut, pineapple and light honey flavors, with an underlying stone element.” -Matt Kettmann (January 2024)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 92

No. of Tasting Notes: 7

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Food Pairings

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