Chardonnay Showcase!

Round Two of our Summer Wine Series touches down on terra firma this coming Saturday, and it affords a literally first-in-a-lifetime tasting opportunity; never before have we offered a flight like this one! In addition to closing with the very highly regarded 2006 Monte Bello (94 points Robert Parker/92 Points Wine & Spirits!) and the very rare 2007 Geyserville Essence  (only the 13th Essence in our 50+ year history!), we are pouring not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR different Ridge Chardonnays! 

Chardonnay, on display, at Lytton Springs!

I think it’s probably safe to say that Ridge has built its reputation on a red wine program comprised of world-class zinfandels and international-stature cabernet sauvignons, but did you know we’re also one of the most well-regarded chardonnay producers in California? 

As but two examples as regards our Monte Bello Chardonnay, consider Matt Kramer’s words in Wine Spectator, 

“If you say “Ridge” the automatic word association is “red.” (Or, alternatively, “Zinfandel.”) But one of Ridge’s greatest wines is white, specifically its Monte Bello Chardonnay.” 

Or, consider James Laube’s numerical rating of this wine (also in WS); 95 points! (Joshua Greene has given 90+ point ratings to this wine in Wine & Spirits as well, as has Robert Parker). Or how about our Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Chardonnay? #2 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list for the 2005 vintage, a Year’s Best in Wine & Spirits for the 2007 Vintage, and a 93 points from Wine Spectator for the current 2008 vintage? Not so very bad! 

Now, add to all that the 2008 Jimsomare (debut vintage!) and the 2008 Mikulaco Chardonnay (only the second vintage!) with all of 700 cases made between them, and you’ve got yourself quite a chardonnay showcase! 

You can get the full specs on the event here, but here’s the brass tacks: 

The fee for this flight will be $25/person (non-members), and $10/person (members). No reservation is required. (For our guests who opt not to participate in the Summer Wine Series event, we will offer, as always, a Guest-Member flight option for $5/person.) Best of all, if you return on a following Saturday with your receipt from a previous Saturday’s tasting, your flight is complimentary, and we’ll include a 6-bottle Ridge Vineyards eco-tote! 

As noted above, our Monte Bello and Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Chardonnays have been nicely well chronicled in the world of wine writing, but given that both the Mikulako and Jimsomare Chards are not only new and extremely limited-production, but not available anywhere else but through us, I thought it might be worth posting some tasting notes, in case you’ve not yet tasted them. So here are some notes for you, should you be so inclined: 

2008 Mikulaco Chardonnay 

Strong mineral component in the aromatics right out of the gate, accompanied by hints of lemon and raw almond; in the glass, fairly spry legs bespeaking a lighter-side mouthfeel — toasty and viscous on the tip-of-the-tongue at point-of-entry, with crisp mountain fruit acidity lining the side-tongue sensors, and some warmer, toastier layers hovering just between — the cool-climate acidity at side-tongue lingers long into the mid-palate, carrying forward a chalky minerality mitigated by an almost honey’d mouthfeel; the regularly stirred lees lend some weight here, while the (very rare) deployment of french oak adds a rich nutty fleshiness — Overall, mid to high-tone fruit, and while somewhat short of finish, it’s definitely wide of palate, with enough acidity to sip alone in warmer months, enough viscosity to lend this to the summer table with aplomb, and enough minerality to keep things interesting throughout. By comparison to other Ridge chardonnays, it’s lighter and arguably less complexly multi-dimensional, but it’s also fresh, eminently drinkable, and displays a savvy degree of culinary companionabilty for the warm months. 

2008 Ridge Vineyards Jimsomare Chardonnay 

Pale straw-yellow tones in the glass, interwoven with warm gold highlights, and exhibiting both great clarity and rich viscosity. Hints of wheat and yeast on the nose, balanced by some citrus, a strong minerality, and a nice spread of multiple strains of pear (Bosc, Anjou, and especially Bartlett). Weighty on the palate, and even warmer and more viscous than the aromatics foreshadow; toasty, but not burnt, with compelling hints of warmed milk and crème fraiche.  The finish is long and chest-fillingly pleasant, balancing a savory toasted-honey character with a sparkling re-display of mountain minerality. 

And I think that says it all, so please, join us for this very special Chardonnay Showcase!

Categories: Chardonnay, Events & Photographs, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, Press Reviews, Santa Cruz Mountains Estate, Tasting Flights, Tasting Notes, Tasting Rooms, Varietals & Blends, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine Quotes, Wine Tales

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