2021 Monte Bello Chardonnay

2021 Monte Bello Chardonnay

Wine Information

100% Chardonnay, Organically Grown

94 PointsRobert Parker Wine Advocate

*Members-only release. Learn more about our Monte Bello Collector membership program.




Monte Bello


Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Golden straw color with aromas of pear, honeysuckle, dried apricot, lemongrass, and wet stone. Full-bodied with hints of baked apple and brioche that lead to refreshing acidity and a juicy and vibrant finish. TG (4/23)

Vintage Notes

A dry, cold winter was followed by a warm spring and moderate summer. Ripening was even and balanced during a harvest that began in late August and finished three weeks later. The grapes were pressed as whole clusters, barrel fermented sur lees and barrel aged for eighteen months. This complex, seductive chardonnay will continue to develop over the next fourteen years. TG (4/23)


In the late 1940’s William Short, retired theologian and then-owner of the Ridge Torre vineyard (2070’ – 2390’), 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: 14 inches (30% of normal)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: A dry winter and spring stressed the vines, limiting yields and concentrating flavors. Harvest was early, accelerated by a heat wave in early September. For the first time in our 50+ year history we finished our Monte Bello harvest before Lytton Springs.


Harvest Dates: 26 August – 8 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.5˚
TA: 7.43 g/L
pH: 3.52
Fermentation: Grapes whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Selection: 100% Monte Bello Vineyard chardonnay parcels
Barrels: 82% air-dried American and 18% French oak barrels (18% new, 22% one year old, and 60% four years old).
Aging: Eighteen 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,128 ppm over the course of aging); bottled without filtration. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Robert Parker Wine Advocate: 94 Points “The 2021 Chardonnay Monte Bello is a satisfying mix of rich, oak-induced framing and a vibrant, balanced texture. Aged in a mixture of American and French barrique, the élevage is apparent with decadent, creamy aromas outlined by notes of citrus curd and oceanic lift. The palate is toasty and ripe in the mid-palate, with hints of crunchy citric energy peering through the edges of the finish. It develops considerable richness with time in the glass, adding popcorn kernel and buttered toast notes. This is a lovely rendition of a consistently singular California Chardonnay.” -Matthew Luczy (April 2024)

Food Pairings

See all food pairing recipes we have created specifically for this wine.

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