Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2009

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California Chardonnay. Viscous, low-acid nightmares of battonage. A stereotype, but most fit this model. And there is rarely value. Enter Ridge, one of California’s best and most exciting producers, even though they are consistently under the radar of most wine drinkers.

The Perils of Consistency

Even for those in the know, Ridge is rarely at the top of the list. This is not based on quality. Rather, it is based on the fact that they have always been there, reliably making wines with character and ageability for reasonable prices. It is easy to simply tell oneself that you will grab a bottle later, but then never follow up. This is the side-effect of their near unparalleled consistency. This is, of course, a mistake.

Speaking of under the radar, Ridge, known for its Zins and its great Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon, is perhaps the greatest Chardonnay producer in California that nobody pays attention to. Ridge makes three levels of Chardonnay: this, the Santa Cruz and the ultimate Monte Bello (made from old massale selected vines). Each of these wines are incredible for their price point, offering fat with freshness, ease of drinking with deep, long flavours, and immediate accessibility with an incredible ability to age. In fact, one of my greatest Chardonnay experiences was with an 8 year old Ridge Monte Bello Chard.

California Chard with Tension

This particular Chardonnay is ready to go with its complex aromatics and full mouthfeel. The vinous baby fat is coupled with a wonderful toasted hazelnut, white flowers and lemon curd quality that rises above the norm due to tension that California Chard rarely possesses. I’d be happy to buy a case and drink one of these every six months. I doubt it will ever go through a dumb phase.

$55 at BCLDB


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