• W&S: 88

    Wine & Spirits Magazine Score

    88

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  • SN: 91

    Snooth Editorial Score

    91

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  • RP: 97

    Robert Parker Score

    97

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  • ST: 95

    Stephen Tanzer Score

    95

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Ridge Red Bordeaux Blend Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello 2005

Winemaker's Notes:

97+ points Robert Parker: Composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Monte Bello should be one of the all-time greats made at this estate. It offers a dense purple color, an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, creme de cassis, black fruits, and a hint of oak. It also has an unctuous texture. As with all rich wines, the oak component plays a complementary role in the wine's nuances. A seamless integration of acidity, wood, tannin, and alcohol is found in this rich, elegant, pure, dense beauty. There is a certain accessibility to the 2005 that is unusual by Monte Bello's standards, and it will age effortlessly for 25+ years. (Feb 2010)

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
89065221,330
0.00 5
02/01/2010

This looks to be a very successful vintage for this bottling. The oak is still quite assertive but there is plenty of rich, spicy fruit adding depth on the nose. The aromatics are still a bit raw with rich notes of wild plum and blackberry tones that follow through on the moderately rich mid-palate. The structure is very well balanced with both acid and tannins being a bit obvious but overall giving a rather restrained feeling on the palate. Once the wood recedes and the fruit begins to relax this should be a wonderful wine with it's spicy black fruit accented by vanilla and cedar spice tones. This needs another 3 years to begin to show it's best. 2013-2025 91 pts


Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065221,330
4.50 5
03/22/2013

This is tight, lean and focused on the nose, with a rich core of vanilla-laced blackberry that is almost beefy in its intensity. There’s a hint of nutty oxidation here as well as layers of candle wax, tobacco, pencil shavings and dried chili aromas. Elegant and so well balanced on the palate, this delivers juicy black fruits framed with hints of baking spices and brambly fruit, all supported by ripe if very gently dusty tannins that add just a hint of chewiness to the long finish. This fruit is gorgeous, perfectly ripe, fruity and yet with great complexity. 92 points


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

External Review
Source: We Speak Wine
11/25/2009

ST: 95 Points


External Review
11/08/2010

(70% cabernet sauvignon, 22% merlot, 6% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc) Deep ruby. Explosively perfumed nose offers a profound bouquet of ripe cherry, blackcurrant, yellow rose, Asian spices and vanilla bean; you could use this for incense. Deep ... Stephen Tanzer's IWC. A Cabernet Sauvignon wine from California in USA. 2005 Ridge Monte Bello 750ml


External Review
04/11/2010

A Proprietary Blend wine from California in USA. 2005 Ridge Monte Bello 750ml


External Review
04/06/2009

A late winter held the vines dormant longer than usual. During bloom, northern California was hit by a particularly strong weather system, disrupting fruit formation, and the estate yielded its smallest crop since 1996. Warm summer weather helped to avoid a seriously delayed harvest; picking began on schedule in early October, and was complete by early November. Small berry size resulted in rapid color and tannin extraction. This, in turn, required special handling � as the whole berries fermented on their natural yeasts, only a limited amount of juice was circulated through the cap. Early pressing � at day six, on average � helped maintain balance. Press wine was aged separately, allowing excess tannin to precipitate, then added at eighteen months. Abundant fruit and richness permitted us to use a greater percentage of new and one-year-old airdried american oak in aging. Twenty-one months in barrel and six racks off the settled lees have brought integration and clarity. Elegant structure and the rich, briary fruit typical of our Santa Cruz Mountains estate combine to give the wine immediate appeal. An excellent vintage, it will continue to develop over the next twelve to fourteen years.



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97+ points Robert Parker: Composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Monte Bello should be one of the all-time greats made at this estate. It offers a dense purple color, an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, creme de cassis, black fruits, and a hint of oak. It also has an unctuous texture. As with all rich wines, the oak component plays a complementary role in the wine's nuances. A seamless integration of acidity, wood, tannin, and alcohol is found in this rich, elegant, pure, dense beauty. There is a certain accessibility to the 2005 that is unusual by Monte Bello's standards, and it will age effortlessly for 25+ years. (Feb 2010)

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