Estate Chardonnay 2019 – Ridge Vineyards.
Nestled atop the picturesque Monte Bello Ridge in California, Ridge Vineyards stands as a testament to a legacy forged in passion, perseverance, and a deep reverence for the land. Since its inception in 1962, Ridge has ceaselessly pursued the art of single-vineyard winemaking, meticulously selecting parcels where climate, soil, and grape variety harmonize to create wines of unparalleled character and finesse.
In addition to a wide selection of beautiful and exceptional single vineyard wines Ridge also produces some stunning and high-performing Estate wines. In this review we are discussing one of their most exemplary Chardonnay’s, the 2019 Estate Chardonnay.
About the Winery
The story of Ridge Vineyards is woven into the fabric of California winemaking history, tracing its roots back to the late 19th century. Dr. Osea Perrone, a visionary doctor and member of San Francisco’s Italian community, laid the foundation for what would become Ridge Vineyards when he acquired 180 acres atop Monte Bello Ridge in 1885. Dr. Perrone terraced the slopes, planted vineyards, and constructed the iconic Monte Bello Winery, producing the inaugural vintage in 1892.
In the 1940s, the winery found new life under the stewardship of William Short, a theologian, who replanted vineyards with cabernet sauvignon. Subsequent owners, including a group of Stanford Research Institute engineers, breathed new vitality into the estate, crafting wines of exceptional quality that garnered acclaim both locally and internationally.
Ridge Vineyards entered a new era of winemaking excellence in the 1960s under the guidance of Paul Draper, a Stanford graduate with a deep appreciation for traditional methods. Embracing a philosophy rooted in nature and tradition, Draper and his team championed a “pre-industrial” approach, eschewing modern additives and industrial processing in favor of time-honored techniques.
The introduction of the first zinfandel in 1964 marked a significant milestone for Ridge, further solidifying its reputation as a vanguard of California winemaking. Over the decades, Ridge has expanded its portfolio to include a diverse array of varietals, with cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel serving as cornerstones of its esteemed collection.
At the heart of Ridge Vineyards lies a steadfast commitment to quality and authenticity. Led by Head Winemaker John Olney, along with Lytton Springs Winemaker Shauna Rosenblum and Monte Bello Winemaker Trester Goetting, the winemaking team embodies a passion for their craft and a reverence for the land.
Embracing a philosophy of minimal intervention, Ridge Vineyards allows the natural beauty of the grapes to shine through in every bottle. Fermenting with native yeasts and eschewing commercial additives, the winemakers at Ridge honor the unique terroir of each vineyard, allowing the wines to express their true character and complexity.
About the Wine
Since its inception in 1962, Ridge Vineyards has upheld a tradition of winemaking excellence, rooted in a deep respect for the land and a steadfast commitment to quality. The story of the Estate Chardonnay is a testament to this legacy, tracing its origins back to the fully-mature vines planted in the late 1940s on the Monte Bello estate vineyard.
The 2019 vintage of Ridge Estate Chardonnay reflects the culmination of decades of expertise and a profound understanding of the land. The growing season, characterized by above-normal rainfall and warm summer weather, provided ideal conditions for the grapes to ripen evenly, resulting in an abundant and excellent harvest.
Harvested from select parcels of the Monte Bello estate vineyard, the grapes undergo whole-cluster pressing and barrel fermentation, with natural primary and secondary fermentations lending depth and complexity to the wine. After fermentation, the wine is aged for fourteen months in a combination of air-dried American oak and French oak barrels, along with stainless steel tanks. This careful aging process allows the wine to develop its distinctive character while retaining the vibrant fruit flavors and nuanced aromatics that define Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay.
In the glass, the Ridge Vineyards 2019 Estate Chardonnay presents itself with a pale, sun-kissed straw hue, offering a glimpse into the elegance and refinement within. Aromas of freshly grated lemon zest and crisp green apple greet the nose, accompanied by subtle undertones of wet stone and delicate honeysuckle.
On the palate, this Chardonnay delivers a luxurious, creamy texture that envelops the senses, balanced by a vibrant acidity that provides structure and freshness. Layers of citrus blossom and ripe pineapple unfold, imparting a refreshing burst of flavor that lingers on the finish. A touch of salinity adds complexity and depth, enhancing the wine’s overall character.
This Estate Chardonnay captures the essence of its terroir, reflecting the unique characteristics of the Santa Cruz Mountains. With its appealing fruit flavors and lingering finish, this wine is a true expression of the land from which it hails.
We award this cool climate coastal Chardonnay with a 92-point DWA score.
Taste date: December 2022
Score: 92/100 DWA Score
Website: Ridge Vineyards