2011 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot

SKU #1156872 92 points Antonio Galloni

 The 2011 Merlot Estate is gorgeous. A blast of dark red and black stone fruits melds into a more typical expression of mountain fruit, with savory herb and floral notes that develop in the glass. A kick of bracing 2011 acidity supports a finish laced with iron, smoke, leather and spices. There is plenty to like in this accessible Merlot from Ridge.  (7/2014)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 This Merlot is not afraid to show its rough side, with aromas of tobacco smoke, cigar box, thick blackberry, ripe blueberry, black cherry and dust. The mouth-coating tannins are strong on the plush, grippy palate, as are flavors of burnt orange, plum and dark chocolate. Let it chill out for a few years; drink 2017 onward.  (11/2014)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 Ridge’s high-elevation vineyards grew a soft, appetizing Merlot in 2011, subtly floral in its aromas, plump and plum-fruited in the middle, mountain tannins tightening at the end. Built to drink in the next few years with flank steak.  (10/2014)

K&L Notes

From Ridge's Monte Bello Estate vineyard, this 100% Merlot bottling is something that Ridge has offered only in the last few vintages. Hand-harvested from the somewhat younger vines on the estate, the berries are fermented on native yeasts and the wine aged for 19 months in 41% new oak. From the winery: "Aromas of dried cherry, rhubarb, olive, and sun-dried tomato. Cherry fruit on the entry, along with chaparral, dried herbs, and currant. Firm acid, polished tannins, and a refreshing finish."

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Price: $49.99

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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

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 (%): 12.9