2015 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

SKU #1295775 93 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Starting with the two Chardonnays, Ridge's 2015 Chardonnay Estate is slightly deeper in color than the Monte Bello release and offers a White Burgundy-like bouquet of stone fruits, toasted spice, crushed rock and addition toasty nuances. It's rich, textured, has bright acidity, and needs 2-3 years of cellaring. There’s 1,700 cases of this beauty and it’s much more approachable today than the Monte Bello cuvee. (JebDunnuck.com)  (8/2017)

93 points Vinous

 The 2015 Chardonnay Estate is a pretty powerful wine, especially by Ridge standards. Drought and poor weather during bloom resulted in a loss of 35% of the crop. As for the wine itself, well, it is fabulous. Rich and authoritative, but with good freshness, the 2015 has it all. Lemon confit, white flowers, apricot, mint and a hint of reduction from extended time on lees add nuance throughout. This is a superb showing. (AG)  (8/2017)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Minerally and intense, with plenty of buttery notes. This well spiced version pivots around a core of baked apple and pear tart flavors. Fresh and juicy midpalate, featuring a finish loaded with dried fig accents. (KM)  (4/2017)

K&L Notes

This Chardonnay is sourced 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 the members of the Monte Bello Collector group. It's whole-cluster pressed and fermented on native yeasts.

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Price: $52.99
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Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/5/2017 | Send Email
I was completely shocked by this wine, but in a good way! They've really scaled back the oak this year at Ridge and allowed the crisp and clean acidity of quality Santa Cruz Mountain fruit to shine through. There's still richness there, but it's more akin to something like Chassagne-Montrachet rather than Napa. It's an elegant wine from front to back and that vibrant acidity makes me want more, and more, and more with each sip I take. Top notch stuff.

Additional Information:



- 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.


- 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.
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.