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Average critic rating : 90.5 points
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Monte Bello Vineyard is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Lighter than normal for a Monte Bello, it will also be more limited in terms of longevity (these wines can sometimes last 35-50 years). The medium-bodied 2011 offers up red and blackcurrant and spicy oak notes, a modestly endowed mouthfeel and light tannin. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.| | eRobertParker.com.October, 2014
The 2011 Monte Bello (87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc) emerges from the glass with tobacco, grilled herbs, smoke, incense and plums melding together in this soft, beautifully textured Monte Bello. The 2011 is a wine of exceptional textural finesse. The 100% new oak is totally integrated. In 2011, Ridge used a total of 18 of a possible 24 lots for the final blend. The presence of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon is the highest since the 1980s. I expect the 2011 to be a relatively early drinking Monte Bello, but time will be the judge. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2031. ||(Not yet released)||Indiana Jones and I have one thing in common – a fear of snakes. That is why every time I see the sign in the Ridge parking lot that reads “Beware of rattlesnakes,” I get a little uneasy. So it’s quickly into the tasting room for me. Winemaker Eric Baugher and his team have prepared a great tasting covering all of the Ridge classics, plus a few smaller-production bottlings I am tasting for the first time. This is a sublime set of new releases from one of this country’s greatest heritage wineries. It’s hard to know where to start, but the highlights are the 2009 Monte Bello, followed by the 2010, which will be released this year, plus some of the Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based wines. The 2010 harvest was not an easy one. The summer was very cold, as it was throughout California. Ridge was severely affected by August heat spikes that were crippling for Zinfandel. The wines that were bottled are the result of a severe selection of the best fruit that survived the heat.||Tel. (408) 867-3233 Wine Advocate.August, 2012
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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