2020 Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay

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2020 Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay

Jeb Dunnuck 94
  • S$15697

Vintage : 2020

Country : USA

Region : California


About Winery

Ridge Vineyards is a famed Californian wine producer founded in 1962, and based in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but with vineyards in several parts of the state. Its flagship wine, Monte Bello, is a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux blend known for delivering the complexity and elegance of Bordeaux wines, as well as typical California fruit intensity.

It is also well known for its range of Zinfandel wines and Zinfandel-based blends, led by the Geyserville cuvée. Wines made from Petite Sirah, Carignan and a Grenache – Mataro blend have also been longstanding features in the range, and Ridge has made a small amount of Chardonnay each vintage for many decades.

In recent years the portfolio has expanded considerably. Newer additions include a Lytton Estate Rosé, a limited-release Mendocino Falanghina, and a trio of Rhône-variety white wines from Adelaida Vineyard in Paso Robles.

The renowned trio of vineyards, Monte Bello, Geyservillle and Lytton Springs account for the majority of Ridge's production, with the remainder coming from the estate's East Bench site and a number of key contract growers.

Montebello is situated at around 800m (2600ft) above sea level in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a few miles south of San Jose. The history of the Monte Bello vineyard and winery dates back to the 1880s. 

All of the Bordeaux varieties are grown on the Monte Bello vineyard. Those plots that have been shown to provide the most ageworthy, complex wines go into the flagship wine, which bears the vineyard's name.

The remaining parcels, which tend to produce relatively approachable, youthful wines, are earmarked for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Blind tastings confirm the selection and the wines are blended over two sessions in the following February and May.

Klein Cabernet Sauvignon is a barrel selection from a part of the estate planted by the Alsatian Pierre Klein in the late 1880s. The Estate Chardonnay also comes from the Monte Bello Estate vineyards.

Geyserville is an estate (and township) located in the Alexander Valley AVA, Sonoma County. It lies more than 100 miles by car to the north of Monte Bello.

The property is owned by the Trentadue family who, since 1966, have sold grapes to Ridge for the single-site, Zinfandel-based wine of the same name. It is home to the oldest vines farmed by Ridge, with some in the "Old Patch" more than 130 years of age.

Lytton Springs is also known for powerful Zinfandel. It is located in Dry Creek Valley AVA, neighboring Alexander Valley to the west. Ridge first purchased grapes from 1972, then bought the estate outright in 1991.

Winemaking across the portfolio combines old-school techniques with sophisticated laboratory analysis to give early warnings of any problems. Ridge only uses native yeasts, and avoids filtration in favor of settling and racking with occasional egg-white fining.

Paul Draper, who joined Ridge in 1969, is one of the world's most celebrated winemakers. His awards include Decanter Man of the Year (2000), COPIA Award for winemaking (2004) and the James Beard Award (2007). In 2015, a Decanter Magazine poll of his peers voted him in the top five most admired winemakers in the world.


94 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark Coming from the estate vineyard on the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2020 Chardonnay Estate has a beautiful nose of honeyed lemon blossom, crushed stone, toasty oak, and a touch of reductive-like minerality. This carries to a brilliantly balanced, medium-bodied Chardonnay with a round, layered mouthfeel, good acidity, and a focused style that should age gracefully for 7-8 years, if not longer (JD). Inner quote mark 

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