2018 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 2018 Chardonnay is classy, translucent and so vivid. Apricot, tangerine oil and light tropical overtones open up first, but the 2018 only starts to show all it has to offer with some aeration. The layers start to fill out, and yet the 2018 never loses its sense of transparency and overall detail. A real sense of phenolic weight gives the wine its distinctive mountain feel. Drink 2022 - 2028.
Antonio Galloni - Vinous
Coming all from the estate Monte Bello Vineyard, the 2018 Chardonnay Estate offers a medium gold hue as well rocking notes of caramelized apples, white flowers, honeysuckle, and crushed rocks. These all carry to a medium-bodied Chardonnay with bright acidity, a focused, chiseled texture, terrific minerality, and just a kiss of background oak. It's going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and have two decades of longevity, if not longer. Drink 2024 - 2044.