The first assemblage tasting took place on February 25th and 26th. Forty-four lots were considered for inclusion. As usual, all the lots were tasted blind to identify those that most display classic Monte Bello character. During the first day of tasting, ten blocks were chosen for the initial wine. Two were from Klein, the other eight from Torre and Perrone blocks. The second day saw the inclusion of an additional eight lots. After blending, the wine has been returned to new barrels for the various components to integrate. Current varietal makeup is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. The makeup may change as ten other promising lots are considered at the second assemblage tasting scheduled for mid-May.
Opaque ruby colour with ripe cassis, plum, and redcurrant fruit, toasty oak barrel spice, vanilla, fennel, juniper berry, bay laurel, well-integrated velvety tannins, full mid-palate, firm acid, long, sumptuous finish.
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.