Ridge Monte Bello (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010 Front Label
Ridge Monte Bello (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010 Front Label

Ridge Monte Bello (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2010

  • RP96
  • W&S96
  • WS90
  • CG90
  • WE90
1500ML / 13.2% ABV
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1500ML / 13.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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: 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The just-bottled 2010 Monte Bello combines pure structure and power in a rich, full-bodied style for this wine. Waves of dark red fruit, crushed rocks, flowers, mint and grilled herbs wrap around the long, insistent finish. Today, the 2010 is slightly more reticent than it was last year, but the wine comes to life the more it sits in the glass. Always classy, the 2010 Monte Bello impresses for its impeccable balance. Count me among those who will be thrilled to own this magnificent California classic. The 2010 is a decidedly virile, powerful Monte Bello, qualities winemaker Eric Baugher attributes to a year with a very cold summer and periods of heat that arrived only towards the tail end of the growing season. In 2010, the blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040.
Rating: 96+
W&S 96
Wine & Spirits
The vine, rooted in that same limestone, provide a massive wine, substantial in its structure, generous in its vibrant fruit flavors, gracious in its tannins. While fruit is at the center of the wine, it's savory and sophisticated rather than overtly sweet. The flavors touch on small berries - black currants, wild blueberries - and also hint at herbs (terragon, tobacco). This is a terrific vintage of Monte Bello: It feels healthy and sound, with tension and drive that will sustain it for decades in the cellar.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
One of the lowest-alcohol prestige Cabs on the market, Ridge's 2010 bottling is dry, softly tannic and light in body for a Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet it’s complex in flavor, offering tiers of blackberries, cherries, currants, herbs and spices.
CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
This year’s version of what has become one of California’s iconic Cabernets is introduced in the nose by a fine combination of juicy young fruit, black olives and undisguised oaky sweetness, and its mannerly, multi-layered flavors follow suit. It is surprisingly supple for a wine of its age, and its gentle tannins firm without being intrusive, but a distracting, vaguely toothpicky pucker emerges at the end and warns against hasty drinking. Allow for at least five years of patience, and, given its pedigree, we would not be surprised if it continues to improve for a decade or more.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
One of the lowest-alcohol prestige Cabs on the market, Ridge's 2010 bottling is dry, softly tannic and light in body for a Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet it’s complex in flavor, offering tiers of blackberries, cherries, currants, herbs and spices.
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Ridge

Ridge

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Ridge, California
Ridge Ridge Winery Video

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.

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A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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