Ridge first made merlot in 1974 from the exposed Point vineyard, planted on Monte Bello Ridge at an elevation of 2600'. 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..
Harvest Dates: 3 - 25 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.5˚
Fermentation: Destemmed/ whole berry. Natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic). Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air dried american oak; 30% new, 23% one year old, 47% two and three years old.
Time in Barrel: Twenty months
Rainfall: 33 inches (average)
Weather: Cool, late spring, cold summer and long, mild fall.
Estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed whole-berries fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (28 ppm initially, 97 ppm during of aging). A fining of six fresh egg white per barrel to moderate tough tannins. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Winemaker Tasting Notes
Rich bramble fruit on the nose along with fennel, black olive, and savory dried herbs. A very smooth entry, medium-to-full bodied with round tannins and a lengthy finish. A very elegant wine.