Ridge Monte Bello 2006
Blend: 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc
About the Vintage:
Winter was wet and cold through April, but May's warm weather let the vines set a full crop. Summer was unusually warm; picking began on September 18, ahead of schedule. Though a cool October slowed ripening, all parcels were harvested within five weeks, and natural yeasts started the primary within three days. Those first fermentations alerted us to how rapidly color and tannin were beingextracted. We reduced pump-overs, and pressed at day ten. Uninoculated secondary began in tank; eighty percent of the thirty-six lots were racked to barrel for completion. Thirteen were selected for the first assemblage in late January. Four intense cabernet lots required egg-white fining to soften tannins. Additions of petit verdot and cabernet franc contributed depth. Balanced and elegant now, this exceptional vintage has the structure to carry it for twenty-five years or more.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello comes from a warmer, generous year and is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petite Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc. It’s still youthfully colored and has classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, and vanilla oak. This medium to full-bodied effort is just now at the early stages of maturity and is silky, graceful, and elegant on the palate, with its still-present structure beautifully integrated into the wine. You can safely crack bottles any time over the coming two decades.
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.