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
The current release is a big, gooey wine. Fresh, sweet blackberry tart, cherry pie, sweet oak. Rich, sticky tannins, and very dry, with firm acids. Far too young. Highest alcohol in Montre Bello's history - 14.1 percent. Elegant and harmonious balance. Hands off until 2016.
Bright medium ruby. Highly complex aromas of currant, lead pencil, tobacco and chocolate. Rich, lush and deep, with full-blown, superripe flavors of cassis, black raspberry and chocolate. This has considerably more merlot than the 2002 (36%), and it shows it in its extravagantly creamy texture. Finishes with sweet tannins and outstanding length. I don't recall ever having tasted a Monte Bello as close to overripe as this one. But a compelling wine that's utterly voluptuous drinking already.
The dense ruby-hued 2003 Monte Bello offers a tight but promising nose of tar, briery creme de cassis, toast, and smoke. Medium to full-bodied, with abundant tannin, a rich texture, and a deep, persistent style, this youthful, primary red is best forgotten until 2010. It should drink well over the following 15-20 years. This impressive wine is unlikely to win many blind tastings given its current austerity.
The 2004 Monte Bello (76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) reveals a similar dark ruby/purple color, but it is not as thick looking as the 2003 or 2005. A lighter, more elegant example of Monte Bello, the finesse-styled 2004 does not possess the power one normally sees in this wine. It offers pure fruit, a pretty, St.-Julien-like style, notes of cedar, spice box, herbs, background oak, and red as well as black currants, and silky tannin. It is capable of lasting 15-20 years.
Dark, young and tight. It's firmly tannic, but enough black cherry, currant and smoky oak flavors balance it out. Finishes with intensity and concentration, the woodiness dominating at this young stage. This is one California red that's best to cellar into 2000 to soften it.
Deep and saturated ruby-purple hue. Moderately full-bodied. Balanced acidity. Moderately extracted. Mildly oaked. Moderately tannic. Cassis, minerals, toast. Very aromatic, with a firm, minerally backbone to the fruit-forward flavors. Oak seems to play a minor supporting role. Firm, elegant, and exceptionally well balanced, with a crisp finish. A style that blossoms with age.
Powerful and massive, with tons of sweetly delicious blackberry, cherry and mocha fruit combined with oak, smoke and vanilla. Wonderfully rich, ripe tannins and firm, bolstering acidity. Fabulous young wine. Drinkable now if you must but just beginning its voyage of decades.