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Flat front label of wineFront shot of wine bottle

Ridge Monte Bello 1990

Bordeaux Red Blends from California
  • WS97
  • RP93
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13.5% ABV
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Currently Unavailable $299.97
Try the 1989 Vintage 299 97
299 97
299 97
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Warm brick-edged garnet color. Complex, spicy nose. Cassis, blueberry, green and black peppercorns. Sweet mint, chocolate, dusty earth. Perfect balance. Fresh, pungent Cabernet fruit. Soft tannins, and a complex, lingering finish.

Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 97
Wine Spectator
An immense wine of uncommon depth, richness, concentration and complexity. Beautifully structured, tightly focused, with layers of currant, tar, earth, anise, mineral and sage, finishing in long, lingering aftertaste.--California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now through 2020.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1990 Monte Bello is also backward, tannic, and rich. Its cassis, mineral, and oak-scented nose offers considerable promise. With medium to full body, crisp acidity, and a long, tight, closed finish, it will require considerable patience.
V 91
Vinous
Saturated dark red with a youthful rim. Extravagant nose combines roasted plum, currant, shoe polish, walnut, roast coffee and a whiff of raisin; grew fresher as the wine opened in the glass. Very rich but youthful in the mouth, with a restrained sweetness and powerful underlying structure. Quite dense and full; flavors of plum, dark chocolate and burnished wood. Finishes very long, chewy and ripe, with firm tannic spine. Developing very slowly.
Rating: 91+
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Ridge
Ridge, California
Video of winery

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.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.

Bordeaux Blends

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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/or 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.

In the Glass

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. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

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 Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

BMT427922_1990 Item# 427922