Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello 2004
Winter rains were scarce this year, and total rainfall down twenty-five percent. Budbreak came early, but bloom was late, delayed by cold April weather. Having set a small crop for the third consecutive year, the vines required little thinning. Harvest began on schedule; most parcels were picked in the first two weeks of October. Four days later, heavy rains drenched the remaining grapes—a quarter of the crop. Fortunately, sun and wind dried the clusters fully before the next storm, and we finished harvest with no damage to the fruit. The forty small lots fermented to dryness on their natural yeasts in nine days on average. Twothirds of them completed natural malolactic in barrel, and remained on the lees for five months. The rest finished in tank, and were racked off their lees to barrel within one month. In a series of tastings conducted from late January through March, we selected seventeen lots for the first Monte Bello assemblage. Another was included in May, one more in December. Eighteen months in barrel has begun to integrate the firm tannins and rich texture of this fine vintage. Unusually appealing as a young wine, it will gain further depth and complexity over the next fifteen to twenty years.
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Editorial Reviews for Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello
This has a lovely nose that shows some early maturity with sweet, tobacco accents over a base of gentle black spice and smoke-tinged blackcurrant fruit. Bright acidity on entry leads to a rather gentle mid-palate that shows off very clear blackberry and red currant fruit formed with suggestions of wild herbs. This is a touch simple, yet remains clear and bright in the mouth. 88 points
External Reviews for Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello
A candidate for one of the longest-lived Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in California is Ridge's Monte Bello. The 2001 Monte Bello Proprietary Red is this historic vineyard's 40th anniversary cuvee. It boasts a saturated purple color in addition to a luxurious perfume of smoky oak, plums, cedarwood, espresso, black cherries, and cassis. As the wine sits in the glass, a hint of tar also emerges. This full-bodied, broad, expansively flavored offering exhibits high tannin along with a huge finish. In blind tastings, I consistently mistake these cuvees for French Bordeaux, and also underestimate their age since they last for 30+ years. Over 90% of this offering is aged in new American oak, yet it never displays that sappy American oak character thanks to the superb cooperage of the barrels. This top-notch 2001 Monte Bello should be at its best between 2012-2035.
Extraordinarily fat, ripe, flamboyant, scads of Cabernet quality. Oodles of black currants, also smoky oak and vanilla. Ripe, fruity, forward, almost jammy. Big time tannins. Drinkable now, but really needs many years; hold until 2012.
Young and tight, with tart currant and wild berry flavors. Takes time to unfold, but the depth and concentration become evident on the finish where the flavors linger. Give this time; best after 2001. A blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 9% Petite Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc.
A wine of great balance, finesse and grace. Well-focused, the ripe, tart, rich blackberry and currant fruit is intense yet elegant, picking up earthy, mineral and sage notes, and finishing with fine, well-integrated tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2012.
The 2001 Monte Bello is undoubtedly sold out, but a bottle I tasted in my office revealed a stunning wine. Boasting abundant amounts of sweet black and red fruits intermixed with tobacco leaf, white chocolate, charred wood, and espresso roast, it is a full-bodied effort with superb purity, high tannin, and an austere finish. It is built for 30 years of longevity. These impressive wines are unlikely to win many blind tastings given their current austerity.
The 2000 Monte Bello Proprietary Red (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc) is a surprisingly forward example of a Ridge Monte Bello. Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by sweet toasty oak along with creme de cassis, licorice, and resin-like aromas. Medium to full-bodied, nicely textured, and elegant with soft tannin as well as a forward style (surprising in view of winemaker Paul Draper's typical style), I would not be surprised to see it firm up considerably in the bottle, and last for 12-13 years. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2016.
Saturated ruby color. Brooding aromas of cassis, bitter chocolate, peat and cigar box. huge, sweet and mouthfilling but as unevolved as a barrel sample. Impressively intense cassis and blueberry flavors boast great verve. Thoroughly suave tannins coat the palate with a fine layer of dust. Juicy and extremely long. An infant that should prove to be very long-lived; likely to merit a score in the mid-90s.
Food Pairings for Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello
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