To see other wines currently available from this producer, please click the link with the name of this producer underlined above, just to the right of "Producer."
February 201097+ Composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Monte Bello should be one of the all-time greats made at this estate. It offers a dense purple color, an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, creme de cassis, black fruits, and a hint of oak. It also has an unctuous texture. As with all rich wines, the oak component plays a complementary role in the wine’s nuances. A seamless integration of acidity, wood, tannin, and alcohol is found in this rich, elegant, pure, dense beauty. There is a certain accessibility to the 2005 that is unusual by Monte Bello’s standards, and it will age effortlessly for 25+a years. Ridge’s iconic Monte Bello Proprietary Red (no longer called Cabernet Sauvignon) is one of the candidates for the longest-lived Bordeaux blend made in California. Even vintages from the late sixties and early seventies are still vibrant wines. The winery owns just over 100 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vines, and production varies enormously based on the mountain climate. With respect to this group of wines, the smallest yields were achieved in 2005, and the highest in 2007. The selection process here is relatively severe. For their Monte Bello, the flagship wine, 32% of the production was used in 2003, 38% in 2004, 49% in 2005, 39% in 2006, and 41% in 2007. These wines continue to be anomalies in the sense that the Cabernet Sauvignon component is aged in American oak, a somewhat contrarian procedure since most top producers long ago moved to French oak. The Santa Cruz Mountains cuvees, essentially a second wine culled out from Monte Bello, are also high quality efforts from Ridge. Each of the vintages I tasted reflects the vintage conditions in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Three 2008 barrel samples reveal a consistent, high quality style with slightly more elevated alcohol contents.
International Wine Cellar
November 200795 (70% cabernet sauvignon, 22% merlot, 6% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc) Deep ruby. Explosively perfumed nose offers a profound bouquet of ripe cherry, blackcurrant, yellow rose, Asian spices and vanilla bean; you could use this for incense. Deep and sweet but remarkably precise, offering powerful dark berry and kirsch flavors supported by substantial, velvety tannins. The fruit plows through the finish with superb energy, depth and clarity, fully absorbing the tannins. A big but wonderfully balanced example of Monte Bello, and sure to reward extended cellaring.