LCBO Vintages Classics Collection
In the late 1940’s, William Short, retired theologian and then-owner of the Ridge Torre vineyard, planted several acres of Chardonnay. These vines yielded fruit for the 1962 estate Monte Bello Chardonnay – the partners’ first vintage. From 1962 to 1984, four to eight barrels of Chardonnay were produced each year under the Monte Bello designation. By 1985, younger replanted vines had begun to supplant the older vines, whose yields had dropped to a quarter ton per acre. The designation was changed to Santa Cruz Mountains. By 1999, the young vines had matured, and Ridge was able to select (in most years) several exceptional parcels for a Monte Bello Chardonnay, a practice that continues to this day.
Sustainably-farmed hand-harvested grapes from the Monte Bello estate vineyard were pressed as whole clusters to largely older French and American oak barrels for fermentation by native yeast. Full malolactic fermentation was carried out before the wine was left to age 19 months in barrel. Minimal sulphur as introduced to the wine, which was bottled without filtration.
“A wine of total elegance and finesse, the 2014 Chardonnay Monte Bello stands out for its poise and harmony. In 2014, the vines were at the height of their stress from the drought, and yet the wine doesn’t really show it. Ample, broad and creamy, the 2014 has it all. I would prefer to give the 2014 at least a few years in bottle to develop more aromatic nuance. Tangerine, lemon confit and almond notes grace the exquisite, oily finish.”
94 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Aug 2017
“Rich and crystalline, featuring concentrated flavors of apple, pear and fig, supported by ample acidity. Pure and minerally midpalate, with a powerful finish that offers finely textured smoky and buttery accents. Drink now through 2022. 487 cases made.”
94 points, Wine Spectator, April 2017