2017 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

SKU #1408699 92 points Wine Spectator

 A big, rich and showy white, filled with spicy notes to the ripe apple, pear and wild herb flavors. Minerally and buttery accents emerge on the contoured finish. (KM)  (5/2019)

K&L Notes

Nine of the twelve parcels of Chardonnay vines on the Monte Bello property were selected for the 2017 "Estate" bottling. Crop yields were reduced by one-quarter by some late spring rains, and the mostly foggy and cool summer ripened grapes slowly which developed full flavor with firm acidity before a heat wave over Labor Day weekend accelerated the season. Grapes were promptly hand-harvested and fermented on their native yeast. The wine was aged for 14 months in primarily air-dried American oak, which is only 10% new so that there isn't too much wood imparted to the profile. Winemaker Eric Bauger describes the wine: "Sun-bleached straw color. Pineapple, melon, honeysuckle, and citrus. Appealing fruit entry, refreshing acidity, with an elegant texture. Long, smooth finish."

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Price: $49.95

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By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/10/2019 | Send Email
Another gorgeous release from Ridge! The 2017 Chardonnay is a bit creamier than previous vintages, but still feels fresh with a lively core of acidity, thanks to the cooler climate Santa Cruz Mountain appellation. The oak is present, but perfectly balanced by rounded Bartlett pear fruit and expressive minerality. Beloved California producer Ridge is always a great choice - elegant and welcome as a sophisticated gift but still easygoing enough for a crowd - and this Chardonnay is no exception.

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.