#MerlotMe Wine of the Month; 2013 Ridge Merlot Perrone Monte Bello – ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
About Ridge Vineyards It is an elegant, exceptional and very memorable Merlot. Ridge Vineyards is an iconic California vineyard that has long been the benchmark for world-class wines. They are best known for producing...

About Ridge Vineyards

It is an elegant, exceptional and very memorable Merlot.

Ridge Vineyards is an iconic California vineyard that has long been the benchmark for world-class wines. They are best known for producing a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels and Chardonnay from a single vineyard. Ridge has two domains - Monte Bello, located in the city of Cupertino in the county of Santa Clara, and Spring Lyttons, located in the town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. The Monte Bello estate is nestled on a peak atop the Monte Bello ridge in the Santa Cruz AVA mountains.

Ridge Vineyards began large-scale production as a commercial vineyard in 1962, but the history of the original winery dates back to 1885 when Oseo Perrone, a doctor from northern Italy, bought the land. He broke down steep slopes and planted vines. Using native limestone, he built the Monte Bello winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. The winery included a unique winery built into the mountainside on three levels. Today, it is the Ridge production site.

In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, purchased the abandoned cellar and vineyard just below the Perrone property. He replanted several plots of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1949. David Bennion and his three partners, all engineers from the neighboring Stanford Research Institute (SRI), bought the land at Short in 1959. The partners initially intended to sell the grapes on the property, but Bennion made half a barrel of 1959 harvest wine. Its quality convinced the partners to re-tie the old winery and undertake the business that has become Ridge Vineyards.

By 1968, production had grown to around three thousand cases per year. In 1969, Paul Draper, a Stanford graduate in philosophy, joined the partnership. Soon after, Ridge gained international recognition when the 1971 Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Draper, took fifth place in the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” against nine other French and Californian wines. Here's what's really cool, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

Draper, who retired in 2016 as CEO and winemaker is the chairman of the board. He joined Robert mondavi and André Tchelistcheff as the only Americans honored as Decanter Man of the Year.

Ridge refers to their style of winemaking as "pre-industrial". This essentially means native yeast, no invasive commercial enzymes, nutrients, or industrial processes. The winery has also been a leader in transparency. Although the TTB is not required to do so, Ridge wine labels list the ingredients and the “steps” taken to produce the wines.

2013 Ridge Merlot Perrone Monte Bello

From Ridge Vineyards - “In the 19th century, the highest vines in the Monte Bello vineyard were part of Dr. Osea Perrone's ranch… We combine four barrels of Pointe Merlot (replanted in the 1960s) with eight barrels from the West Block (replanted in 1996). together they show excellent definition, and the beauty of Merlot grown on a mountain within sight of the Pacific Ocean, made up largely of fractured limestone ”

Tasting note: Opaque ruby ​​purple color with exuberant notes of black cherry, plum, anise, cola and barrel, and a hint of leather aromas. On the palate it is medium bodied with vibrant acidity and well integrated grainy tannins and black cherry, blackberry, ripe black plum, cola and spice with savory notes of dried herbs and a long finish. Raised in 100% New American Oak air-dried for 21 months. 13.9% abv | SRP - $ 60 | 93pts

We've paired it with grilled T-shaped steaks, roasted mushrooms, and baked potatoes. Yum!

This is an elegant, exceptional and very memorable Merlot that (here are the all too familiar compliments of wine lovers), I would have liked to have had an extra bottle or two to see how it evolves over the 5-10 years.

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We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.

If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.

The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )

Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising

Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain kits ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.

As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !

From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your conteneur and provides a gentle heat. It is very flexible and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the exact temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter coffret packages. See our scène showing the types of heating equipment available for your fermentation.

It is important to clean

If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment


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