• WS: 89

    Wine Spectator Score

    89

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  • ST: 97

    Stephen Tanzer Score

    97

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  • WA: 92

    Wine Advocate Score

    92

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  • SN: 89

    Snooth Editorial Score

    89

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Ridge Monte Bello 1991

Winemaker's Notes:

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Ridge Vineyards:
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone (third person on bench wearing tall boots), a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name... Read more
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone (third person on bench wearing tall boots), a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge's production facility. At 2600', it is surrounded by the "upper vineyard." In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s. From these vines — now the "middle vineyard"— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of "estate" cabernet. That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California's finest wines of the era. Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and '61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage. The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres. Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership. A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile's coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist. His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward "hands off" approach pioneered at Ridge. Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established. Cabernet and zinfandel account for most of the production; syrah, grenache, carignane, and petite sirah constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962. Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. A quarter century's experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground. Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals. Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology. Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit's distinctive character and richness into the wine. Read less
Suggested Recipe Pairing presented by
Coconut Rice Sweet Potato Cheesecake

RiceSelect's creamy Arborio gets blended with sweet potato, coconut milk and vanilla to create this decadent cheesecake. Pairs well with Saunternes; a white dessert wine that has hints of coconut from aging in oak barrels.

View Recipe

Editorial Reviews for Ridge Monte Bello

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065212,932
0.00 5
01/26/2010

Very bright on the nose with red currant fruit and a hint of boysenberry all joined by very complex notes of vanilla, raw meat, sun dried tomato, and balsamic notes. This smells down right sweet. In the mouth this is very rich and seems to have been acidified. The mid-palate is hollow and remarkable soft considering the acids on the finish, which is also bitter. The nose was promising but this bottle is a disaster 80pts I’ve had this wine several times and it has consistently been one of the greatest California Cabernets I have had the pleasure to drink. I can only hope that this was a bad bottle.


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065212,932
4.00 5
01/26/2010

Liquory on the nose with nice freshness and notes of coffee beans, dilly American oak, fudge and toast help to frame the sweet, slightly jammy black berry fruit. In the mouth this is a bit simple and a bit short but the fruit is pleasantly spicy with a nice crisp edge to the black berry tones. The tannins are present but well integrated, just supporting the sweet rich fruit. A very nice example a California Cabernet and peak and perhaps just beginning to fade away 89pts


Member Reviews for Ridge Monte Bello

Add your review
Snooth User: joshwoodward
129954234
4.50 5
05/15/2009

Spicy pool nose, with dustiness. Jammy black cherry, light spice, rubber on finish (good). Funky, cool. Silky+ texture. Still life left in it. Strawberry. Peach?


External Reviews for Ridge Monte Bello

External Review
Source: Epic Cellars
05/17/2010

Ridge has released two top-notch Cabernet Sauvignons that are completely different in style. In total contrast to the 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello exhibits the classic austerity found in Bordeaux, with a reserved but highly complex bouquet of licorice, cassis, and lead pencil. It is a rich, almost measured wine in its restraint, but there is considerable intensity, and the wine offers outstanding extraction of flavor, full body, and gobs of tannin. Given the glacial pace at which most Monte Bellos evolve, this wine is not likely to be fully mature for another 10-15 years; it will last for 25-30 years.


External Review
Source: JJ Buckley Fine Wines
11/21/2010

A Proprietary Blend wine from California in USA. 1991 Ridge Monte Bello 750ml


External Review
Source: Shop Wine Direct
01/17/2009

Wine Advocate ReviewRidge has released two top-notch Cabernet Sauvignons that are completely different in style. In total contrast to the 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello exhibits the classic austerity found in Bordeaux, with a reserved but highly complex bouquet of licorice, cassis, and lead pencil. It is a rich, almost measured wine in its restraint, but there is considerable intensity, and the wine offers outstanding extraction of flavor, full body, and gobs of tannin. Given the glacial pace at which most Monte Bellos evolve, this wine is not likely to be fully mature for another 10-15 years; it will last for 25-30 years.


External Review
Source: JJ Buckley Fine Wines
04/04/2011

Full, youthful red-ruby color. Knockout nose of cassis, maple syrup, game, truffle and spicy oak; sappy and highly complex. Powerful, primary dark berry flavors exude a sweet gamey quality. Dense but sharply delineated. Great flavor intensity without... Stephen Tanzer's IWC. A Proprietary Blend wine from California in USA. 1991 Ridge Monte Bello 750ml



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