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Ridge Monte Bello 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
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13.3% ABV
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13.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

In January, seventeen Cabernets and four Merlotswere combined; in May we added a structured Cabernet and an elegant Merlot. Two years of limited rainfall, and the resulting stress, produced a wine of amazing depth. Its complex secondary characteristics will develop over the next ten to twenty-five years.

Limestone sub soils, cool climate, low yields, natural fermentations, and our undivided attention have produced fifty vintages of exceptionally long lived wines. The distinctive character of the world's great wines has always been determined by their site - by nature, not by man.

Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038. 97+ Points
JS 95
James Suckling
This is a fantastic wine showing subtle power with fine, racy tannins and a long fruity finish. Wonderful aromas of milk chocolate, toasted oak and red fruits. It's full, intense and balanced. Made from 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Very tight, dense, tense and firm, with aromas of road tar, dried currant and dried tobacco leaf offering plenty of enticement, picking up gamy earth and black licorice notes. Retains its trim, narrow band of flavors and focus. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2013 through 2024.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Mainly Cabernet Suavignon, with the balance Merlot, this is a delicious wine for drinking now. It's rich and succulent in berries, cherries, currants, dark chocolate and cedar, and the tannins are soft and refined. Given Monte Bello's history of extreme ageworthiness, you might want to cellar it for an extended period of time. Cellar Selection.
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Ridge
Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
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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.

Santa Cruz Mountains

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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 to just above Monterey county. Elevation ranges from just 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 as well. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. 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, and Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for their distinct minerality and balanced acidity. Often these wines can be aged for many years. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.

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.

MRW111461_2008 Item# 111461