Ridge Monte Bello 2012 Front Label
Ridge Monte Bello 2012 Front LabelRidge Monte Bello 2012 Front Bottle ShotRidge Monte Bello 2012 Back Bottle Shot

Ridge Monte Bello 2012

  • RP94
  • WS94
  • W&S93
  • CG92
750ML / 13.8% ABV
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750ML / 13.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#7 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2016

The Monte Bello vineyard, situated a mere 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, sits high atop the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, California's coolest cabernet producing area. It is underlain by decomposing limestone, which is not found in the well-known Cabernet producing areas of Napa and Sonoma, making the soil composition at Monte Bello a unique and important contributor to the wine's distinctive character.

Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Inky colored, the sensational 2012 Monte Bello comes all from the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. It's backwards and tight, with classic black cherry, crushed violets, cassis, espresso roast and crème brulee notes all flowing seamlessly to a full-bodied, concentrated, structured and layered Bordeaux blend that has bright acidity, a stacked mid-palate and firm tannin. It needs 5-6 years of cellaring and will hold for two decades beyond that.
Rating: 94+
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Beautifully structured, with firm acidity and tannins that show grip amid a core of dense currant and blackberry fruit, turning juicy. This is classic old-school Cabernet. Cellaring for five to seven years is the right approach. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2020 through 2035.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
This vintage of Monte Bello includes a fairly high proportion of merlot—22 percent—which, along with the warmth of the 2012 vintage, gives the wine an unusually lush, open, velvety texture in its youth. Still, it’s not a wine to drink now. A layer of stony tannins tugs at the fruit, pulling mouthwatering blackberry and cedar flavors back into the wine’s structure and holding them at a distance. Bright mountain-grown acidity will support the 2012 well as it ages. This should hit its stride in another eight or ten years.
CG 92
Connoisseurs' Guide
Over the years, Ridge’s Monte Bello bottlings have been among the most individual and distinctive of the state’s top Cabernets, and the latest incarnation fits the classic winery model of precision, restraint and varietal purity. It backs well away from high ripeness and bluster and fixes on steady cassis- and cherry-like fruit with subtle accents of oak and herbs scattered throughout its considerable length, but it is its sense of structure and keen balance that earns it a place with the high achievers of the 2012 class.
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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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SBG134411_2012 Item# 134411

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