Ridge Merlot Estate
Deep purple/ruby color. Ripe blackberry fruit, cola, exotic spice, eucalyptus. Elegant entry; full body, with black currant fruit, dried herbs, firm acid; red fruit and sweet oak in a lingering finish.
Though winter’s abrupt end left the vines short on rain, near-perfect summer weather ripened the grapes for a mid-October harvest. During primary fermentation, color and tannin developed fully. After pressing, each lot started natural malolactic in tank; a quarter of the way through, we racked to new barrels. After seventeen weeks on their lees, the wines were blindtasted for assemblage. All showed beautifully, and were combined. Twenty-one months in barrel has softened the tannins. This delicious wine will be most enjoyable over the next six to eight years.
Ridge first made merlot in 1974 from the exposed Point vineyard, planted on Monte Bello Ridge at an elevation of 2600′ (792 m.). Originally, we wanted to see if the varietal could match the quality of, and be included in, our estate cabernet. Once satisfied that it could, we planted more merlot over the years as space and resources allowed. From 1975 on, it has been a part of the Monte Bello whenever assemblage tastings so indicated. As the younger plantings matured, it became apparent that not only did merlot complement the Monte Bello, but also had the structure and complexity to merit a separate bottling.
Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground. Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals. Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology. Our pre-industrial approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.
Ridge Merlot Estate – Hay Wines
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