From the vineyard famed for its Cabernet, Ridge's lesser-known Monte Bello Chardonnay. The winery's vintage note: "Ridge made its first Monte Bello Chardonnay in 1962. Not every vintage produces a Monte Bello--the last was in 2000. Warm late winter weather gave the vines an early start; a cold, unsettled spring slowed growth. By mid-September the more-stressed vines had developed full flavor, followed in mid-October by those with larger ground-water reserves. Whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented for two months on their natural yeasts, the wines took ten more months in barrel to complete a natural malolactic. This superb chardonnay is comprised of five barrels from the stressed lots, and twelve from Middle Block. Clarity was achieved by racking and settling, first at twelve months, and again when the wine was bottled, unfiltered, at fifteen months. A classic Monte Bello, it has the firm acid and intense, complex fruit of the cool Santa Cruz Mountains region. It will continue to develop beautifully through the decade."
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