Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2022 (Santa Cruz Mountains, California) - [JS 96] [WE 94] [WS 93] [WA 91]
Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2022 (Santa Cruz Mountains, California) - [JS 96] [WE 94] [WS 93] [WA 91]

Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2022
(Santa Cruz Mountains, California) - [JS 96] [WE 94] [WS 93] [WA 91]

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About the Winery:
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.

Winemaking:

Harvest Dates: 
Grapes: Average Brix 22.5˚
TA: 6.91 g/L
pH: 3.36
Fermentation: Grapes were whole-cluster pressed and barrel fermented. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic) fermentations.
Barrels: 60% air-dried American oak, 40% French oak (24% new, 5% one year old, and 71% two to three 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, 82.7 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.

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.

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.

Vineyard: Monte Bello

Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume: 14.3%

Ratings & Reviews

96 Points - James Suckling:
"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." (May 2024)

94 Points - Wine Enthusiast:
"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." - MK (Sept 2024)

93 Points - Wine Spectator:
"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. 1,800 cases made." - MW (July 2024)

91 Points - Wine Advocate:
"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 (Apr 2024)