Ridgeline Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay 2011
By Mark Beringer
This incredible wine has gorgeous aromas of fresh tropical fruit with notes of meyer lemon and melon flavors. A delicious palate of vibrant and generous tropical fruit, with delicate oak and citrus. A pleasing and long finish. A truly beautiful and elegant Chardonnay from prime Carneros vineyards.
-Mark Beringer, Director of Winemaking
Jonathan H. Newman*
Ridgeline 2011 Carneros Chardonnay by Mark Beringer
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
COUNTRY: United States
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.80%
This nicely made Carneros Chardonnay by Mark Beringer is primarily from the Henry Road Vineyard. It underwent 50% malolactic fermentation and spent 6 months in French Oak, 30% of which was new. Aromas of primarily tropical fruit including mango, banana and peach. A bountiful palate of lush tropical fruit with white peaches, pears, and orange blossom, with touches of butter and Asian spice. Layered with a full mouth feel of lush and generous fruit that strikes the right balance of richness with a pleasant finish. Sampled in January, 2013 out of barrel and again when finished in March, 2013 with winemaker Mark Beringer at Artesa Winery, with consistent tasting notes. Pair with Cocoanut encrusted tilapia, Lobster tail, shrimp scampi, mussels in a white wine garlic sauce or Chicken in a rich mushroom sauce. Enjoy now and over the next several years. Only 1,100 cases produced.
2011 Ridgeline Carneros Chardonnay
Harvest: October 2011
Technical Data: ALC: 13.80%; rs: 0.2%; ta: 6.3 g/l; pH: 3.55
Cooperage: 50% aged 6 months in French oak barrels (30% new); 50% aged in stainless steel
The 2011 Vintage
The 2011 vintage started off with a relatively dry winter. Early spring was wet and cold and it delayed bud break. The overcast weather was persistent throughout the spring and cool temperatures, rain, and even hail during the bloom caused low yields. The summer was also cool and the verasion did not occur until August. Harvest began almost 4 weeks later than average and a slow pace until the first week of October when the first rain changed the dynamics. The speed to bring in the fruit increased to mitigate the risk of botrytis and other molds. 2011 was by far a challenging vintage. Nevertheless, an intensive care from vineyards to winemaking enabled us to produce stunning wines with remarkable delicacy.
About the Vineyard
Our Chardonnay vineyards span the entire cool climate Carneros region. Temperatures are moderated by the adjoining San Pablo Bay, cool afternoon breezes and persistent morning fog. This climate yields grapes that have enough cool hang time and sunshine to develop great natural acidity and deep fruit flavor. We sourced the majority of the grapes from the Carneros Henry Road Vineyard from higher elevations where the soil is sandy, gravel-laden and has excellent drainage that naturally tames the vigor of the vines. The grapes have immense concentration and fruit intensity.
After the grapes were hand harvested, whole-clusters were gently pressed and 30% of the juice was fermented in new French oak barrels (the remainder was fermented in seasoned barrels and stainless steel), imparting richness and viscosity without overwhelming the wine. Just 50% of the wine was allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, rounding out the edges with a hint of butter. Finally, a portion of the wine was lees stirred twice a week for five months, bringing added texture and richness to the mouthfeel. The wine was bottled after six months of aging.
This incredible wine has gorgeous aromas of fresh tropical fruit with notes of meyer lemon and melon flavors. A delicious palate of vibrant and generous tropical fruit, with delicate oak and citrus. A pleasing and long finish, this is a truly beautiful and elegant chardonnay from prime Carneros vineyards.
Winemaker Mark Beringer
Artesa Winery Vice President of Production and Winemaking
A fifth generation winemaker from Napa Valley, award-winning winemaker, Mark Beringer, is proud to continue a family tradition of making high quality wines in California's premier AVA's. As the great, great grandson of Beringer Winery co-founder, Jacob Beringer, Mark has always aspired to make his contribution to California winemaking. He grew up immersed in the wine industry and knew from a very young age that winemaking was his calling. In 1992, Mark was recruited by Dan Duckhorn to join the Duckhorn winery team as an enologist and to provide support to Tom Rinaldi. Mark welcomed the opportunity to return to the type of artisanal winemaking he was so passionate about. When Duckhorn Wine Company decided to expand its portfolio beyond the Bordeaux varieties in 1994, Mark was chosen to head up the project to launch Paraduxx, a unique blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Goldeneye, the winery's Burgundy style wines from Anderson Valley. In 1996, Mark was promoted to Vice President of Production and took on the tasks of managing a multi-brand, multi-facility company. In 1998, Mark was named Winemaker and in 2000, was promoted to Director of Winemaking. In 2005, The San Francisco Chronicle named Mark Winemaker of the Year for his work at Duckhorn Vineyards. During Mark's tenure at Duckhorn Wine Company he garnered two Winery of the Year titles from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine, was named four times Regional Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine and won the #6 rated wine of the year in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2002 with the Duckhorn Vineyards 1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2008, Mark founded Mark Beringer Consulting, working on a variety of projects within the wine industry before joining Artesa Vineyards and Winery as Vice President of Production and Winemaking in February 2009. [artesawinery.com]
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.