2010 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Crushed rocks, flint, jasmine and white stone fruits form the backbone of the 2010 Chardonnay Monte Bello. Still very tight and backward, the 2010 is going to require a measure of patience, but it is striking, even today. A bright, crystalline finish rounds things out in style. The 2010 is shaping up to be another classic from Ridge, but it will also require a measure of patience. Drink 2015-2025. If a formal Bordeaux-like classification existed for US wineries, Ridge would be at the top of the list. Endowed with a stunning set of terroirs, the vision of Paul Draper and the talent of winemaker Eric Baugher, Ridge is set to build on an extraordinary legacy of world-class wines. Ridge is one of the best and most intelligently run wineries anywhere in the world. In addition to this gorgeous set of current and upcoming releases, I am also including notes on a few library releases I tasted during my last visit. Prices remain exceedingly fair for what are world-class wines in every way.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Light yellow-gold. Intense, mineral-laced citrus and pit fruit aromas are complicated by notes of anise, chamomile and iodine. Rich yet lively on the palate, offering concentrated Meyer lemon and nectarine flavors and notes of smoky minerals and honeysuckle. The mineral quality carries through the finish, which shows excellent clarity and persistence. This chardonnay should age slowly and gracefully.
Young, a touch tight at this writing yet rich and nicely focused on energetic appley fruit buttressed by a supporting cast of creamy, slightly toasty oak, this one is fairly firm in feel and medium-full in body with a useful bit of flesh on its bones. It is balanced in a way that does not drift into thinness on the one hand yet avoids any sense of heaviness on the other and makes an asset of the slight citrusy turn to its finish. A year or two in bottle will work wonders here.
A fancy, rich Chardonnay that has concentrated, intense Meyer-lemon tart, mineral and honeysuckle flavors, yet it’s elegant, with streamlined acidity. Oak adds the perfect touch of buttered toast. This showcases the opulence of Chardonnay, while maintaining balance and dryness.
Pure and rich, with tiers of white peach, nectarine, honeydew melon and ripe pear. Most intriguing on the finish, where the flavors linger and gain. Drink now through 2028.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Chardonnay Monte Bello (100% Chardonnay that achieved 14.4% alcohol) exhibits a more vibrant nose of citrus blossoms, crushed rocks, oak and waxy, buttery fruit (white currants and white peaches). Crisp acidity gives the wine an attractive, well-delineated style, and it should age easily given its zesty acid profile. This solidly made Chardonnay should drink well for 6-8 years.
Ridge Vineyard's Monte Bello Chardonnay is back in a big way after they didn't bottle this "first wine" in the 2009 vintage. In 2010, a total of 27 barrels were selected from three vine parcels on the Monte Bello estate for this prestigious Chardonnay. The wine was barrel fermented with native yeasts in 90% air-dried American oak barrels and 10% French oak. The wine was aged in-barrel for 11 months before being selected for bottling.