2017 Ridge Vineyards 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 their 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.
The 2017 Chardonnay Estate has a Burgundian reductive quality as well as first-rate notes of caramelized orchard fruits, crushed rock, and subtle toasty, nutty notes. Rich, medium to full-bodied, with bright acidity, it has beautiful mid-palate depth, and well as the class and structure to keep for 15+ years. This is beautifully done.
The 2017 Chardonnay Estate is soft, silky and exceptionally polished. White flowers, mint, orchard fruit, lemon confit and white pepper give the 2017 striking aromatic top notes that add nuance to the delicate, beautifully layered fruit. This understated Chardonnay is all class. The Estate represents 85% of Ridge's production in 2017, while the remaining 15% will be bottled as Monte Bello.
A big, rich and showy white, filled with spicy notes to the ripe apple, pear and wild herb flavors. Minerally and buttery accents emerge on the contoured finish.