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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Ridge Monte Bello 2013

Bordeaux Red Blends from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
  • RP100
  • WW100
  • D100
  • W&S94
13.6% ABV
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13.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Opaque ruby color. Ripe mountain briar and cassis fruits; licorice, crushed limestone, sweet toasted oak, violets. Intense blackberry fruit on the entry; cola, exotic oak spice. Well-defined full body, rich structure, firm acid, wet stone mineral. Long, intense, finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 100
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Monte Bello is a very special vintage for this great wine. Amazingly, it has yet to shut down, unfurling in the glass to reveal a bouquet of black raspberries, cassis, rich espresso roast, cigar wrapper, subtle black truffle and burning embers that has already integrated its 100% new oak remarkably completely. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, powerful and multidimensional, with a lavishly textural attack that segues into a stunningly layered, richly structured mid-palate endowed with incredible depth and concentration underpinned by succulent acids. The finish is long, vibrant and beautifully delineated. The 2013 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot, and it attained 13.6% natural alcohol. Analytically, this ranks as one of the most tannic vintages of Monte Bello ever produced, but the tannins are of such high quality and cloaked in such a wealth of fruit that Ridge forwent their habitual egg white fining this year—beginning a trend that has continued since. This profound Monte Bello will begin to blossom as it reaches age ten and should prove practically immortal.
WW 100
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
One of the greatest achievements in the history of wine. I have tasted nearly every vintage of the Ridge Monte Bello, which was first produced in 1962 (unfortunately, I did not taste the first offering). For a young wine, the 2013 Ridge Monte Bello is already talking to me in ways that few wines have in a lifetime of tasting (over 200,000 wines). The nose is amazingly aromatic, showing fragrant spices, sweet earth, delicate red currants, and enticing forest floor. Make no mistake; this is a wine of destiny. Could this be one of the world's most extraordinary wines? Too strong a statement? Perhaps, but this one certainly has my attention. Not ready to drink yet, this baby will require two decades of time before it shows its finest moment. Let's meet in 20 years and toast Monte Bello! (Tasted: September 16, 2016, San Francisco, CA)
D 100
Decanter
A Monte Bello for the ages, the 2013's brooding bouquet unfolds to reveal notes of black raspberry, juicy blackcurrant, burning embers and deep-pitched, rich soil tones. On the palate the wine is simply stunning, with a beautifully three-dimensional, refined tannic chassis. Analytically, this is the most tannic Monte Bello of the millenium, but that structure is clothed with a wealth of fruit—so much so that Ridge forwent their habitual egg white fining this year. Watch this profound wine begin to blossom after a decade in the cellar.
W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
Monte Bello’s aging regimen—16 months in new American oak—is apparent in the 2013’s pungent aroma of dill. At first, the fruit feels muted by the oak, but there’s a fineness to the tannins that gives the impression of a very serious cabernet terroir (in this case, a cool mountain ridge rising to 2,600 feet, where a wealth of mature vines dating to the 1970s and 1980s are rooted in limestone-rich substrata). With air, the fruit picks up vigor, that dill character merging with flavors of maitake mushroom and pine. Like most vintages of Monte Bello, its mountain-grown fruit is more about umami than red or purple berry flavors. And if some vintages of Monte Bello can feel almost racy, this one is supple and gentle, yet not at all heavy—an aristocratic cabernet that is standoffish right now, girded by new wood. This will reward the patient; keep it for ten years or more before uncorking it at a holiday celebration with roast beef.
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Ridge
Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains, 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.

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, 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.

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 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 lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally 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 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.

FRO161883_2013 Item# 161883