2016 Ridge Estate Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains
The 2016 Chardonnay Estate is lovely, opening in the glass with notes of fresh pear, preserved lemon, nutmeg and subtle spice. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, satiny and expansive, with a broad, textural attack, good balancing acidity and a pure, mineral-inflected finish. Recently bottled, it's still a baby, so it's hard to say where it stands vis-à-vis the 2015 rendition: right now, it seems a touch less concentrated but more elegant and harmonious; with time in bottle, I wouldn't be surprised to see it take the lead. The Chardonnay Estate represents a barrel selection of lots that don't possess the chalky grip and energy Ridge seek in their Monte Bello Chardonnay, so it's always a more approachable wine.