• W&S: 94

    Wine & Spirits Magazine Score

    94

    Close
+ Add Critic Score

Submit a Critic Score

Score:

Name of Critic:

Close

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
89065222,288
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


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

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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


1 2 3 4


All Prices

Shipping to:

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


Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Cabernet Sauvignon Top Lists







Snooth Media Network