Ridge Monte Bello
- California, United States
Mild winter resulted in below-average rainfall. Most of the winter rain came in March. That was late enough to keep the vines going through summer and into harvest without too much water stress. Weather during bloom was perfect and allowed all varietals to set a full crop. Yields from our zinfandel vineyards were above average. Chardonnay and bordeaux varietals at Monte Bello were just below-average, down about 10%. Summer weather was warm, but not hot like 2017. Fog in August allowed the vines to slowly ripen and do so uniformly. It’s rare to have zinfandel do that, but when it does, the resulting wines are superb. 2018 zinfandels are excellent, possessing deep color, rich tannins, and amazing depth of flavors. They will age beautifully.
The Monte Bello bordeaux lots are also of superb quality. Natural yeasts took much longer to ferment. To avoid pressing off sweet, we kept the fermenting juice on the skins longer-than-normal. To avoid over-extracting tannins, pump-over time and frequency was reduced. Once pressed, and fractionated, most of the press wine was held out from being added back to free runs. Now that natural malolactics are underway, the lots are all being sent to new barrels to finish. There are a number of lots that show amazing Monte Bello character. The assemblage tasting will be held in late January when we taste through everything to put together our first blend of 2018 Monte Bello. Petit verdot ripened nicely this year. Our two lots are phenomenal and likely to be selected into Monte Bello. Many of the classic cabernet and merlot lots are also excellent and will be chosen, too. With yields being lower at Monte Bello, the production size is most likely going to be on the smaller size. Nevertheless, it will be a powerful vintage. —Eric Baugher, November 2018
|Grape||Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot|
|Wine Type||Red wines|
|Wine Style||Hearty Red|