An indicative blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Young and plush, the nose is understandably dense and dark fruited with a noticeable vail of brûléed oak spice, buttered brown toast and vanilla pod espresso nuances. But scratch the veneer and there are ample fruit notes of black currant, earthy cassis, black bramble berry dusted with toasted coffee bean spice. On the palate the flavours are more integrated and tight knit with a real freshness of acidity bolstering black berries, black cherry and crunchy blue berry vitality. Sleek and mouth-fillingly textural but also quite a bit more serious than the Cabernet Sauvignon (blend) with additional multi-dimensional layers of leafy sap, graphite and a pulsating muscular mineral tannin core. An enthralling, captivating wine that carries off a very well rehearsed act of seduction. (97-98/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Producer Information: Ridge
Over 50 years ago, Ridge made its first Monte Bello, and two years later its first zinfandel. Since this time, Ridge has championed single-vineyard winemaking, searching California for those rare vineyards where climate, soil, and varietal are ideally matched. Ridge Vineyards has two locations; high on Monte Bello Ridge in California’s rugged Santa Cruz Mountains in Cupertino and in the heart of Sonoma County in Healdsburg.
In the 1940s, theologian William Short bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property and 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 marked one of California's finest wines of the era. 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.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel account for most of the production, while Syrah, Grenache, Mataro, Carignane and Petite Sirah, amongst other varieties, constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited quantities of Chardonnay since 1962.