1997 Ridge Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot

SKU #310403 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium red-ruby. Superripe currant and black raspberry aromas hint at raisiny surmaturite. Then surprisingly juicy and leanish in the mouth, with juicy red berry and licorice flavors and firm acids. Finishes with slightly dry-edged but light tannins and a hint of greenness.  (5/2000)

K&L Notes

According to the Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: "From the same site as Ridge's most prestigious Cabernets, this solid Merlot delivers plenty of substance and savor. Although slightly skewed to sweet oak spice and elements of loamy earth, the wine is nicely fruited in mid-palate before running into a fair bit of puckery tannins along the way. Be patient for the five or six years of age it seems to need." (09/2000)

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Price: $29.99
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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.


- 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.