• SN: 96

    Snooth Editorial Score

    96

    Close
  • WA: 80

    Wine Advocate Score

    (90-92)

    Close
+ Add Critic Score

Submit a Critic Score

Score:

Name of Critic:

Close

Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello 1994

Winemaker's Notes:

The '94 vintage followed the pattern of the last three years: spring rains and a late start to the growing season. Though the set was not heavy, we thinned rigorously to help ensure full maturity by harvest. Again, cool nights held acids high as the grapes ripened. We harvested from October 18 to 28 late, but fairly typical of our cool region. A light egg white fining and seventeen months in new, air-dried oak have softened the tannins beautifully. The merlot has enhanced fullness, the Petit Verdot, structure and spice. Both together, with the Franc, add complexity. Though approachable as a young wine, this lovely vintage will be at its best with five to fifteen years of bottle age.

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

Editorial Reviews for Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065218,435
5.00 5
04/24/2009

Exquisite balance and natural acidity allows this wine to caress the palate and explode in the mouth with such remarkably vibrant flavors. The 1994 Monte Bello has hit it's peak and it is now offering all it can.The nose needs some time to fully unfurls itself after its stint in the bottle but once it gets going it offers up classic notes of earth and herbs strongly backed by balanced notes of American oak and wild blackberries. There are lovely hints of cocoa powder, spearmint, and beef with enticing top note of forest floor that keeps one coming back for just one more sniff. In the mouth this is simply spectacular! The mouth watering acids and crisp tanins are in absolute harmony and frame the cassis and blackberry fruit perfectly offering exceptional clarity and a lively, transparent feel. If one could fault this for anything perhaps someone might consider it to be a touch simple but it's just to damn fun to drink to worry about that. Someone recently asked for a single word that describes what I want in a bottle of wine. My response? Happiness. This wine is packed with happiness! 96pts


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065218,435
5.00 5
03/16/2010

This bottle showed a bit more herbal than usual with hints of tomato, oregano , and mint complementing the fresh red currant and black raspberry fruit tones. There's a bit of coffee cream on the nose which also finds its way to the palate where it is joined by lean, precise and fresh black raspberry fruit. This is simply superb with exceptional length and lovely topnotes of mint, white chocolate, and subtle insinuations of baking spices. An American classic 96pts.


Member Reviews for Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello

Add your review
5.00 5
02/19/2010

Spicy, cinnamon and baking spices mixed with tar, black fruit and dark baking chocolate, great fresh acidity and well integrated oak. A stellar wine.


Snooth User: Nicki Gig
1783064,202
4.50 5
02/19/2010

Filled with black plums, currants, spices, figs, baked bruised fruit while the palate extends to cinnamon, cedar, red fruits and red licorice, amazing complexity of flavors with a long beautiful finish. Amazing! especially with my cheese...


Snooth User: solomania9
63312,961
4.50 5
02/19/2010

Ripe bright grainy fruit. Eucalyptus and steak marinade with a bit of a steely metallic finish.


Snooth User: Philip James
112,550
5.00 5
02/19/2010

Green pepper and blackcurrants on the nose. Mineral with hints of eucalyptus. Excellent - very cool, balanced and delicious.


Snooth User: bartschc
31886166
4.00 5
03/02/2010

Four glasses


External Reviews for Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello

External Review
05/15/2010

The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello was one of the most backward Cabernets in the March tasting. It almost defies inspection given its austere, extremely tannic, hard style. The opaque purple color is accompanied by a wine that smells and tastes ripe, rich, and brilliantly made, but it will require a minimum of 10-12 years of cellaring to shed enough tannin to become civilized. Although it should be a winner, it may not be as sure a bet as such vintages as 1991, 1992, and 1995. When young, this wine rarely reveals its full potential. Having said that, the last three vintages of the Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon (1993, 1994, and 1995) are immensely impressive, with perhaps the 1994 the least expansive - for now.


External Review
01/16/2009

Dark-colored, rich and earthy, with complex, mouthcoating currant, anise and minerally scents that pick up a tobacco and leather quality on the finish. Youthful and still firmly tannic, this is a well-balanced, inviting young Cabernet... Wine Spectator. A Cabernet Sauvignon wine from California in USA. 1994 Ridge Monte Bello 750ml


External Review
01/30/2013

The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello was one of the most backward Cabernets in the March tasting. It almost defies inspection given its austere, extremely tannic, hard style. The opaque purple color is accompanied by a wine that smells and tastes ... Robert Parkers Wine Advocate. A Proprietary Blend wine from California in USA. 1994 Ridge Monte Bello 750ml



All Prices

Shipping to:

The '94 vintage followed the pattern of the last three years: spring rains and a late start to the growing season. Though the set was not heavy, we thinned rigorously to help ensure full maturity by harvest. Again, cool nights held acids high as the grapes ripened. We harvested from October 18 to 28 late, but fairly typical of our cool region. A light egg white fining and seventeen months in new, air-dried oak have softened the tannins beautifully. The merlot has enhanced fullness, the Petit Verdot, structure and spice. Both together, with the Franc, add complexity. Though approachable as a young wine, this lovely vintage will be at its best with five to fifteen years of bottle age.

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Cabernet Sauvignon Top Lists







Snooth Media Network