2010 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

SKU #1138858 94 points Vinous

 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.  (7/2013)

93 points 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.  (11/2013)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 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.  (6/2012)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 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.  (7/2012)

92 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (2/2014)

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.  (10/2013)

K&L Notes

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.

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Price: $59.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.4