Ridge Monte Bello 2009
Bordeaux Red Blends from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
#94 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012
Deep ruby/purple, with aromas of blackberry, red current, ripe cassis, cedar, crushed rock minerality, toasted oak. Full-bodied, with a rich tannin structure, dark berry fruit, firm acid, wet-stone, juniper, forest floor, cola, and lingering exotic oak spice finish.
Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Monte Bello ,72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot is simply magnificent. Layers of dark red fruit, flowers, spices and graphite are all woven together in this utterly impeccable wine. The 2009 is an especially huge, intense Monte Bello, yet a sexy, silky core of fruit lies within its imposing frame. Everything comes together in this glorious, radiant wine. Last year the 2009 had some pretty stiff competition from the 2010, but today it is simply firing on all cylinders. Eric Baugher describes 2009 as a year with cold weather early on, followed by heat in early June and July. The fruit was brought in on October 12, just before an intense downpour swept through the region. There is a purity and silkiness supported by structure in the 2009 that is impossible not to admire. Simply put, this is another utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece from Ridge. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2049. "
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "(72% cabernet sauvignon, 22% merlot and 6% petit verdot): Opaque ruby. Assertive redcurrant, cherry and pipe tobacco aromas, with suave floral and mineral notes gaining strength with air. Fresh and precise, offering deeply concentrated red berry and bitter cherry flavors, a supple texture and slow-building sweetness. Becomes more exotically floral with air, finishing sappy and long, with excellent clarity and gentle tannic grip. An extremely promising young Monte Bello that smoothly melds power and vivacity."
Wine Spectator - "Taut and structured, with cedar-laced currant, dark berry and dried berry notes joining a mix of minerally fresh earth and tobacco flavors, offering a wide range of tight-knit fruit overall. Firmly tannic on the finish, yet the ripe purity pushes through. True to form Monte Bello in a classic style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2014 through 2030."
Wine & Spirits - "A relatively dry growing season and a cool fall produced this Monte Bello's austere power and grace. It's a substantial wine based on bright, mountain-grown fruit, lush strawberry and red currant flavors that track the energy of the tannins. There's a savory earth tone underneath, complexity built into the tannins that will develop over the next decade. For now, the new oak is prominent; give this time to realize its full beauty."
Wine Enthusiast - "This is tough in tannins and somewhat rustic now, in the way of young Monte Bellos. There's not much to recommend opening it anytime soon, especially if you're a fan of the modern style of accessible lusciousness. But it is rich and minerally, with a fine core of black fruit. Monte Bello Estate (not to be confused with Ridge's similarly-named Estate Monte Bello, which costs far less) is a wine that historically ages very well, and 2009 was a pretty good vintage, so you're safe cellaring it for at least 10 years. Cellar Selection."
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Ridge's history begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor and prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He planted vineyards and constructed a winery of redwood and native limestone in time to produce the first vintage of Monte Bello in 1892. The historic building now serves as the Ridge production facility.
Though Ridge began as a Cabernet winery, by the mid-60s it had produced several Zinfandels including the Geyserville. In 1972, Lytton Springs joined the line-up and the two came to represent an important part of Ridge production. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of Chardonnay since 1962.
The Ridge approach is straightforward: find the most intense and flavorful grapes, guide the natural process, draw all the fruit's richness into the wine. Decisions on when to pick, when to press, when to rack, what varietals and what parcels to include and when to bottle, are based on taste. To retain the nuances that increase complexity, Ridge winemakers handle the grapes and wine as gently as possible. There are no recipes, only attention and sensitivity. View all Ridge Wines
About Santa Cruz MountainsView a map of Santa Cruz Mountains wineries
The Santa Cruz Mountain appellation encompasses the land between Half Moon Bay in the north and Mount Madonna (just near Monterey) in the south. Producing wine since the early 1800's, some of these wineries have been around for quite some time, mingling their vineyard lands with the sprawling redwood forests.
Notable FactsEven though the climate can be challenging, and only 1500 acres are under vine, over 50 wineries still operate successfully – and produce successful wine. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay do well in this region, along with a few plots of Cabernet Sauvignon. Hills, valleys and forests generate multiple micro-climates, creating a diverse flavor among the wines.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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