Ridge ‘Estate’ Chardonnay
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: 50.4” (above normal) Bloom: Mid-March Weather: Lots of rain soaked California throughout the winter. Spring rains continued until mid-May. Warm summer weather allowed the large crop to ripen evenly, resulting in an abundant, excellent harvest. Harvest Dates: 21 September - 8 October Grapes: Average Brix 23.8?
100% CHARDONNAY MONTE BELLO ESTATE VINEYARD
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
14.3% ALCOHOL BY VOLUME
WINEMAKING & TECHNICAL DATA
Fermentation: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations. Selection: Ten of the twelve Estate Chardonnay parcels. Barrels: 87% air-dried American oak, 13% French oak; 15% new, 37% one-year-old, 8% two-year-old, 9% three-year-old, 13% four-year-old, and 18% five-year-old. 30% stainless steel tank.
Aging: Fourteen months pH: 3.48 TA: 6.46 g/L 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. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.