2014 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
The 2014 Chardonnay Estate opens with inviting aromatics. Bright, floral and nuanced, the 2014 offers striking complexity and energy. There is a hint of reduction, but that is not a negative. Readers who enjoy focused Chardonnays will find much to admire in the 2014. This is a gorgeous wine from Ridge. Lemon, white pepper and mint add the closing layers of nuance. In 2014, Ridge bottled less of their Monte Bello Chardonnay than the norm, which may be one of the reasons the Estate is so expressive. (AG)
*Highly Recommended* Starts assertively oaky, with cedar and matchstick notes, but transitions into a more compelling elixir, offering a rich mix of pear, melon, honeydew and spice flavors as the oak recedes and lets the fruit come forth. Drink now. 3,275 cases made.
This comes from Ridge's famed estate vineyard, Monte Bello, which has fractured limestone soils over decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with clay and loam. Until 2009 this was bottled simply as Santa Cruz Mountains, and is normally available only to Monte Bello Collector members. It's whole cluster pressed and fermented on native yeasts. The winery's tasting note and barrel age stats, for those keeping track: "Sun-bleached straw color. Ripe pineapple, green apple, pear, melon, biscotti, flint, toasted oak. Elegant fresh citrus entry, ginger root, limestone earth, lemon zest finish. Barrels: 94% air-dried american oak, 6% french oak; 23% new, 23% one and two years old, 54% three, four and five years old."