Spring rains delayed the start of the growing season at Monte Bello. In anticipation of an equally delayed harvest date, we thinned the crop heavily. Nights were cool throughout the summer, but late Octobers warm weather pushed the fruit to full maturity. The late start gave us the highest acidity to date of Ridges thirty-two-year history. A full malolactic fermentation brought these acidic wines into balance. In mid-December, as we began assemblage tastings, we found that, for the first time in years, we were holding some wines out because they seemed too tannic. To ensure balanced structure, we did our most rigorous selection ever, keeping sixty percent of the Monte Bello wines out of the final assemblage, consisting of 86% Cabernet, 7% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot. The Monte Bello was aged for sixteen months in new oak cooperage, then fined with fresh egg whites. Because the merlot was so tannic, less was included than in most recent vintages. The petit verdot was well-balanced, and added richness and depth. This beautifully-structured wine is among the finest of the last ten years. Quantities are limited, but quality is superb.