Monte Bello’s New Old Wine

The tectonic and climatic idiosyncrasies of Ridge Vineyards

56% cabernet sauvignon, 42% merlot, 2% petit verdot
13.7% alcohol by volume
Tight and still quite oaky on the nose, with inky fruit, black spice notes and nuanced tea and tobacco aromas. Soft, broad and quite generous in the mouth, this lacks the tension of the 2005 and a little of the complexity as well, though it does offer up ripe dark berry fruit that shows a little chocolate, mocha edge through the moderately long finish. 88 points
58% cabernet sauvignon, 42% merlot
13.7% alcohol by volume
Big black currant greets the nose accented with hints of a little truffle, black plum, cardamom and briar. This smells smooth and polished. Ripe tannins and fine acidity define the palate which shows off transparent, perfectly ripe black fruits. This is lively and detailed in the mouth, though the wood tannins seems to pinch the mid-palate just a touch at this stage. The finish is long and juicy, with a nice sweetness to help carry it through. 91 points
75% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 3% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc
13.5% alcohol by volume
Tight and reticent on the nose which shows hints of dusty minerals and very fine leather and pencil notes with some late to arrive crushed red currant notes. In the mouth this is surprisingly opulent and ripe with  lots of rich black currant fruit. There’s seemingly less tannin here than in previous vintages, even though the tannins appears to be a bit dryer in nature. Elegant and pure, this shows off a big pop on the finish which then fades away with a gentle toasted oak sweetness. 89pts
77% Cabernet Sauvignon,  23% Merlot 
13.8% alcohol by volume
Mostly oaky spice on the nose, which is tight but does slowly reveal hints of crushed blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. This is a bit dense and closed in on itself, but there is a gorgeous core of red and black fruit here and really lovely ripe tannins as well as integrated acidity that keeps this fresh and lively in the mouth. The finish shows typical wood spice notes, but there is a trailing hint of minerality here as well as a fine depth of fruit and rich, soft texture. This needs a few years, but is going to be really attractive. 92 points
Not yet released
Still open on the nose, with fresh red fruit topped with lots of nutty oak, a hint of butter, toasty spice notes and a meaty edge. Transparent and bright in the mouth, this is very tight today and I didn’t have enough time to tell where it’s really going. There’s no doubt that this has fine structure, and fresh, ripe fruit, but I can’t get much more out of it. 89-92 points
The first Ridge Estate Merlot since 1997.  Big, black and fruity on the nose with a nice toasty top note and spicy accents. Smooth and plump in the mouth, but not at all soft. This shows an early hint of caramel followed on the palate by lovely plummy fruit that’s supported by notably bright acidity and rich, slightly chewy tannins. A Merlot to age, at least for a little while. 89 points

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Ridge Vineyards

Ridge Estate Chardonnay (2011)
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Ridge Chardonnay Estate (2010)
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Tenuta Chiccheri Monte Precastio Chardonnay Chardonnay Italy Veneto (2004)
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Monte Verde Chardonnay Lovestreet Central Coast (2005)
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Rivera Castel del Monte Chardonnay Preludio N.1 (2006)
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Domaine Fourrey et Fils Bourgogne Domaine Fourrey Premier Cru Mont de Milieu Chablis Premier Cru Blanc Sec Chardonnay (2007)
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Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Estate (2008)
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Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Estate (2009)
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Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Santa Cruz Mountains (2010)
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Ridge Merlot Estate (2009)
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