Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 2008
Bordeaux Red Blends from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
In January, seventeen Cabernets and four Merlots were combined; in May we added a structured Cabernet and an elegant Merlot. Two years of limited rainfall, and the resulting stress, produced a wine of amazing depth. Its complex secondary characteristics will develop over the next ten to twenty-five years.
Limestone sub soils, cool climate, low yields, natural fermentations, and our undivided attention have produced fifty vintages of exceptionally long lived wines. The distinctive character of the world's great wines has always been determined by their site - by nature, not by man.
Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038. 97+ Points"
International Wine Cellar - "Glass-staining ruby. Powerful, pungent aromas of cherry-vanilla, cassis, candied licorice and graphite, along with a suave floral oil quality that gains strength with air. Deeply pitched dark berry flavors show a liqueur-like intensity, as well as notes of smoky Indian spices, violet and vanilla. Ripe but quite vibrant, wih superb finishing clarity and persistence. This extremely young wine makes the case that high alcohol isn't a prerequisite for intensity or power in California cabernet.
Rating: 95(+?) "
James Suckling - "This is a fantastic wine showing subtle power with fine, racy tannins and a long fruity finish. Wonderful aromas of milk chocolate, toasted oak and red fruits. It's full, intense and balanced. Made from 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot."
Wine Spectator - "Very tight, dense, tense and firm, with aromas of road tar, dried currant and dried tobacco leaf offering plenty of enticement, picking up gamy earth and black licorice notes. Retains its trim, narrow band of flavors and focus. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2013 through 2024."
Wine Enthusiast - "Mainly Cabernet Suavignon, with the balance Merlot, this is a delicious wine for drinking now. It's rich and succulent in berries, cherries, currants, dark chocolate and cedar, and the tannins are soft and refined. Given Monte Bello's history of extreme ageworthiness, you might want to cellar it for an extended period of time. 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 Vineyards 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 into 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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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