93 Points - Antonio Galloni
The 2014 Chardonnay Estate opens with inviting aromatics. Bright, floral and nuanced, the 2014 offers striking complexity and energy. There is a hint of reduction, but that is not a negative. Readers who enjoy focused Chardonnays will find much to admire in the 2014. This is a gorgeous wine from Ridge. Lemon, white pepper and mint add the closing layers of nuance. In 2014, Ridge bottled less of their Monte Bello Chardonnay than the norm, which may be one of the reasons the Estate is so expressive.
95 Points - Stephen Brook (Decanter Magazine)
Reticent apricot nose, with considerable purity of fruit. Fresh attack – lean and sleek – with vibrant apricot and citrus fruit; taut and intense. A wine with pungency and structure, and an almost Burgundian persistence of flavour. Harmonious, textured and long.
Mark Andrew Lovely gunsmoke character; very inviting. Rich and full bodied – dare I say a very masculine Chardonnay? Lots of stature and presence. Very woody at the moment, but an excellent example of full-bodied Chardonnay.
Stephen Brook Reticent apricot nose, with considerable purity of fruit. Fresh attack – lean and sleek – with vibrant apricot and citrus fruit; taut and intense. A wine with pungency and structure, and an almost Burgundian persistence of flavour. Harmonious, textured and long.
Andy Howard MW Good weight on the palate with attractive notes of ripe stone fruit and fresh acidity. Very well-balanced oak, aromas of gunflint, and a long and complex finish. This will age well.
Formed in 1962 Ridge Vineyards is perhaps California’s most revered and respected wine estate. With an old world ethos to winemaking balance and character are the main requirements for every bottle produced. Paul Draper has been winemaker here since 1969 ensuring that only ripe fruit is used alongside minimal intervention. As such, all wines have medium levels of alcohol, are deftly oaked and are unfiltered in a concerted effort to capture the inherent quality of the wine’s raw material.
At the introductory level, Ridge’s Estate Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon offer an immediate drinking experience that’s top notch and affordable. These are made with grapes grown on the estate’s vineyards in the cool hills of Santa Cruz. There is a great track record of these ageing well for up to 10 years from the vintage. Monte Bello is the winery’s range of super premium wines that helped it gain its reputation after the Cabernet Sauvignon placed 5th overall at Stephen Spurrier’s famous Judgement of Paris in 1976. After Stag’s Leap it was the 2nd best performing American red wine that had been rated by leading critics in a blind taste test. It is today a Bordeaux blend featuring cabernet sauvignon alongside merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot ageing well for up to 30 years. Its white companion, a varietal Chardonnay which is held in similar esteem, resembles a grand cru Burgundy with its mineral acidity balancing the ripe fruit and oak.
California is the largest and most important wine region in the US – in fact, if California were a separate country it would be the world’s fourth largest wine producer! California stretches along the west coast of the USA meaning that soils and climates vary enormously depending on the area’s altitude, latitude and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Generally the cooler regions closer to the coast are most suited to the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, whilst further inland (where the climate is much hotter) some of California’s most famous Cabernet Sauvignon wines are grown. The famous Ridge Estate is located here and produces some of the best and most sought after wines in California. If you enjoy Chardonnay, we highly recommend you take a look at Liquid Farm Winery, whose Chardonnay’s (we believe!) rival those of Burgundy.
Riedel Veritas Oaked Chardonnay (2 Glasses)
Enjoy your favourite wine the way it was meant to taste with these wonderful lead crystal creations from Riedel, which are shaped according to the character of the wine in order to enhance its rich, aromatic flavours.
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