The Monte Bello vineyard was first planted when the winery was built, in 1886. In the early 1940s, the last of the old vineyard was abandoned; in the late forties a few blocks were replanted. Those cabernet vines - now sixty years old - produced the first Ridge Monte Bello in 1962, and subsequent vintages until the mid-seventies. By then, blocks replanted during the sixties were maturing, and their fruit considered for use in the Monte Bello. A number of those consistently produced a softer, more accessible wine and were combined as the stylistically distinct Santa Cruz Mountains Estate.
Mountain bramble fruit aroma, red currant, cardamom, vanilla bean, licorice, toasty oak. Velvety, fruit-coated tannins. Balanced, resolved structure. Drinkable now.
"A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot, the 2006 Santa Cruz Mountains Estate exhibits a similar deep ruby/purple color as well as less complex aromatics, an attractive, round, rich, full-bodied mouthfeel, sweet tannin, and a long finish. This successful 2006 should drink well for 15 years."
The Wine Advocate
Today, was my birthday and I pulled this wine off the rack, as an after work drink. The color is a deep, full red. The nose has nutmeg, pepper, black and red currant, tobacco, leather, and tea. I have to say WOW, in regards to the amazing complexity of this wine. Forward notes of blackberry, currant, licorice, vanilla, and very slight amount of oak. Extremely smooth tannins. Long wonderful finish. I would rate this wine at a 92-93. I bought 3 bottles to start and will be buying more in the near future!