Long known for its immortal Petites from the 1970s still drinking well today, Ridge has crafted an eminently cellar-worthy wine for the long haul. The depth and complexity that comes from 100-year-old vines simply can’t be faked.
The Chardonnays are all barrel-fermented in puncheons and barrels, and go through 100% malolactic. The 2015 Chardonnay Pastorale Vineyard has a gorgeous nose of orange blossoms, ginger and allspice over a core of ripe peaches, apple pie and pink grapefruit plus a waft of cedar. Medium-bodied with a seductive satiny texture, it delivers intense stone fruit and mineral flavors with superb grace, finishing long and multi-layered.
Youthfully wound up yet fleshy, this wine slowly opens to reveal a sense of crispness, wet stone-like minerality and a taste of fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean. Apple skin, Meyer lemon and key lime flavors provide upfront freshness; toasted oak and almond qualities add substance and weight.
The 2015 Chardonnay Pastorale Vineyard is a little bit brighter in style than the Freestone tasted alongside it. White orchard fruit, green pear and mint are nicely pushed forward. Most of the wine was fermented and aged in 500-liter barrels, which helps preserve freshness, energy and tension. A slightly reductive note on the finish reinforces an impression of vibrancy. This is superb stuff.