2022 Estate Chardonnay

2022 Estate Chardonnay

Wine Information

100% Chardonnay

96 Points – Jim Gordon, JamesSuckling.com
95 Points – Owen Bargreen, Owen Bargreen.com
94 Points + Editor’s Choice – Matt Kettmann, Wine Enthusiast
93 Points – MaryAnn Worobiec, Wine Spectator

Vintage

2022

Vineyard

Monte Bello

Appellation

Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume

14.3%

Winemaker Tasting Notes

Aromas of pineapple, lemon meringue, pear, brioche, apricot, dried flowers, ginger, flint, and sweet oak. Medium-bodied with a soft entry layered with fruit, acid, oak, and a round, full mouthfeel. The finish is long and clean. Enjoyable upon release and over the next six to seven years. TG (10/23)

Vintage Notes

A dry, warm growing season resulted in reduced yields with small berries and concentrated flavors. We picked nine parcels over a two-week period from late August to early September. The grapes were pressed as whole clusters and barrel fermented as separate lots. The next summer, after malolactics finished, they were combined for this fine chardonnay. It will be most enjoyable over the next five to six years. TG (10/23)

History

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 than 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.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 28 inches (below average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: 2022 was another drought year, with just enough Spring rains to help the vines through the season. Two heat spells, one in late July and the other in late August, pushed the vines to an early harvest.

Winemaking

Harvest Dates: 29 August – 12 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.1˚
TA: 6.61 g/L
pH: 3.36
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Barrels: 15% new oak (mix of 80% American oak and 20% French oak), 85% older American oak, one to four years old.
Aging: Fifteen 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,111 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.

Press

JamesSuckling.com: 96 Points “Wonderfully concentrated and full-bodied but somehow light on its feet. The limestone soil and Wente clone vines planted in 1982 help give it an almost dense but elegant feel, with minerals, lime zest, a touch of vanilla bean and chalk. Great balance and lively acidity lead to a long finish. Drink or hold.” -Jim Gordon (May 2024)

Owen Bargreen.com: 95 Points “The ‘Estate’ Chardonnay mainly comes from the Monte Bello Vineyard, as they did not make a Monte Bello Chardonnay this vintage. This was whole cluster pressed to tank and saw considerable pumpers and oxygen infusion, as well as regular less stirring. Coming from vines set on limestone soils, this was stored in a combination of American oak, French oak and Amphorae. This offers a silky texture with beautiful body. Creme brûlée and buttered French bread notes combine with baked apple and suggestions of salted walnut on the palate. Drink 2024-2034.” -Owen Bargreen (March 2024)

Wine Enthusiast: 94 Points + Editor’s Choice “This legendary winery deserves constant props for being a leader in listing ingredients on wine labels. The wine’s great too, starting with tightly wound aromas of chiseled blocks of fine-grained wood plus Meyer lemon and flinty melon. The palate is stony and focused on a fine sandalwood spice, with lemon peel adding acidic balance.” -Matt Kettmann (June 2024)

Wine Spectator: 93 Points “Bold and distinctive, with notes of flint, toasted sesame seed and litsea oil adding a savory overtone to the core of ripe stone fruit, pineapple and pear flavors, backed by plenty of fresh acidity. More distinctive notes of beeswax, nutmeg and toasted green tea linger on the finish. Drink now.” -MaryAnn Worobiec (May 2024)

Robert Parker Wine Advocate: 91 Points “The 2022 Chardonnay Estate Monte Bello Vineyard is ripe and forward on the nose, with aromas of white peach, star fruit and fresh lilies. The palate follows this profile, with ample mid-palate richness and a soft spine of acidity on the finish. It is balanced and enjoyable if a bit lacking in vibrant energy to give it life beyond a handful of years in the cellar.” -Matthew Luczy (April 2024)

Food Pairings

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

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