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Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello 1995

Winemaker's Notes:

In the Santa Cruz Mountains, welcome spring rains delayed the start of our growing season. We thinned the already moderate crop, and warm October weather brought the fruit to ideal ripeness. Fifteen of the twenty-five parcels were chosen in February as most intense and most typical of the vineyard's character. They were assembled in three stages over the following months. Tannins are the biggest to date in the nineties, yet the fullness and complexity of the wine render them supple. Aged almost entirely in new, air-dried american oak, this is classic Monte Bello. Though approachable now, the great '95 vintage will develop fully over the next fifteen to twenty years.

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
89065220,795
4.00 5
04/24/2009

95cmb-bg.jpg Well this vintage is an entirely different beast. Certainly more vegetal on the nose with a much heavier overlay of toasty, smoky oak, earth and tea notes. There's a touch of leather here as well and a more obvious eucalyptus tone. In the mouth the structural elements are both more formidable and less well integrated than with the 1994 and that keeps the wine a bit blocky and short. The fruit is more towards the red end of the spectrum but continues to be dominated by the tannins which turn a bit drying towards the back end. This needs time but it lacks some of the purity and elegance that propels the 94 to such heights. 89pts


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

External Review
Source: Epic Cellars
04/28/2010

The 1995 Monte Bello is actually a Proprietary Red Wine as the blend is 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. It was made from an extremely severe selection of only 25% of the harvest. Paul Draper feels it is the biggest, brawniest, and most muscular Monte Bello of the 1990s, and in need of 10-15 more years of cellaring. This saturated ruby/purple-colored effort is still backward, with a closed nose of minerals, oak, and subtle black fruits. In the mouth, it is large-scaled, tannic, rich, and long, but nearly abrasive because of the wine's high tannin level. This youthful, muscular, monster Monte Bello will require significant cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2035.



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In the Santa Cruz Mountains, welcome spring rains delayed the start of our growing season. We thinned the already moderate crop, and warm October weather brought the fruit to ideal ripeness. Fifteen of the twenty-five parcels were chosen in February as most intense and most typical of the vineyard's character. They were assembled in three stages over the following months. Tannins are the biggest to date in the nineties, yet the fullness and complexity of the wine render them supple. Aged almost entirely in new, air-dried american oak, this is classic Monte Bello. Though approachable now, the great '95 vintage will develop fully over the next fifteen to twenty years.

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