1997 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon Ridge Vineyards

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Average critic rating : 90.5 points



The 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello exhibits an opaque purple color, as well as an elegant, black currant, mineral, and smoky oak-scented nose. The wine is medium to full-bodied, tannic, and in need of 10 years of cellaring. Not a blockbuster, this offering is more elegant and finesse-styled than usual. However, as with previous Monte Bellos, it will take a long time to come around, yet it will keep for 2-3 decades.||Tel. (408) 867-3233; Fax (408) 867-2986|| Wine Advocate.December, 1998

Described by Antonio Galloni as“one of the most consistent and brilliant wineries in the United States, Ridge is an estate which requires little introduction. Producing its first vintage under the “Monte Bello” label in 1892 (naming itself after the Monte Bello Ridge on which its first terraces were constructed), it is today one of the finest producers of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel in California.

Though the estate has been creating world-class Cabernet from the 1940’s, its first Zinfandel was not made until 1964, and its first Geyserville Zinfandel released in 1966. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year and the estate only increased in renown from there. Following their triumph in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting, their position as a cult name in California wine was more or less cemented.

In the eyes of many critics, Ridge craft wines that rival Bordeaux First Growth in terms of quality and finesse. As Galloni states: “ Bordeaux-like classification existed for US wineries, Ridge would be at the top of the list”. Employing traditional Old World methods in the winery, the results are typically mellow, smooth and balanced, with the use of new American oak barrels finely calibrated so as not to overwhelm the wine with New World power and sweetness.

Described by Robert Parker as a candidate for one of the longest-lived Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in California, Ridge’s Monte Bello represents the pinnacle of what is being achieved at this extraordinary estate, whilst the Monte Bello Chardonnay is arguably California’s most respected white wine. Made from 100% hard-harvested, estate grown grapes and with a policy of minimal intervention, these wines are superbly representative of the stunning heights this iconic estate can achieve.

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