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2008 Monte Bello Chardonnay
14.1% alcohol by volume
In 1949 William Short, retired theologian and then-owner of the Ridge "middle" vineyard (2070' - 2390'), planted several acres of chardonnay, which provided the 1962 estate Monte Bello Chardonnay for the Ridge partners' first vintage. From 1962 to 1984, limited amounts 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. (To distinguish this wine from the Monte Bello, we called it Santa Cruz Mountains.) Fifteen years later, in 1999, the young vines had matured; we were able to select several exceptional parcels for a Monte Bello, a practice that continues to the present.
Harvest Dates: 2 - 8 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.4 degrees
Fermentation: Whole-cluster pressed. Juice aerated and racked to barrel for natural primary and secondary.
Selection: Two of the ten Monte Bello Vineyard chardonnay parcels
Barrels: 90% air-dried American oak (10% new, 66% one and two years, 24% three years old) & 10% French oak barrels.
Aging: Sixteen months in barrel
Rainfall: 30 inches (just below average)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Whole cluster pressed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (25 ppm at the press, 84 ppm over the course of aging) and 5.3mg per liter isinglass fining just prior to bottling; unfiltered. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.