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Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello 2004

Winemaker's Notes:

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.

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
89065219,781
3.50 5
03/22/2013

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


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

Add your review
Snooth User: vardaman
7409597
4.50 5
06/03/2008

crushed rocks


Snooth User: nfarzan
8746712
4.50 5
09/11/2008

Four and a half glasses


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

External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


External Review
Source: Prestige Wine & Spirits
05/22/2011

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.


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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.

Closure: Cork


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