Ridge Monte Bello 2017  Front Label
Ridge Monte Bello 2017  Front LabelRidge Monte Bello 2017  Front Bottle Shot

Ridge Monte Bello 2017

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  • CG94
750ML / 13.7% ABV
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750ML / 13.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#77 of Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2020

Opaque purple-ruby color. Ripe blackberry fruit, barrel spice, anise, violets, and crushed limestone. Opulent mountain fruits on entry, fennel, sweet oak, well-structured tannins, and firm acid. Powerful complexity and tremendous length to the finish.

Critical Acclaim

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JD 100
Jeb Dunnuck
Pure perfection, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello is a sensational effort from this estate that should be snatched up by drinkers and collectors. Based on 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that was brought up mostly in new American oak, this saturated purple-hued beauty is legendary Monte Bello in the making and has a stunning yet primordial bouquet of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, chocolate, and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, incredibly powerful, and one of the most concentrated versions of this cuvée ever made (I've had most of them), it needs a solid decade of bottle age and will have 50-60 years of overall longevity. Despite the long drinking window, it offers plenty of pleasure even today. I followed this bottle for two days and it showed best right out of the gate, closing down and becoming more brooding and backward with air. It's an incredible wine that I promise you won't regret having in your cellar.
WW 100
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: Ridge's Monte Bello occupies a rarefied space and time. This iconic wine, produced out of the Santa Cruz Mountains, has a life of its own that can never be replicated. The 2017 vintage is cosmic. Its impressive aromas and flavors of hard-to-define berries, earth, soil, tree bark, mineral stay lovingly, and endless on the palate. I saved a portion of the wine in 10-ounce bottles to enjoy over a few days, and I was glad that I did. Serve this wine with friends and a quiet, Zen-like conversation. (Tasted: September 17, 2020, San Francisco, CA)
JS 99
James Suckling
This shows incredible intensity and depth of blackberries, pine needles, blackcurrants and black olives. Conifer, too. Love the nose. Full-bodied with so many layers of fruit and very fine, creamy tannins. It goes on for minutes. Impressive density with such weightlessness. Superb wine. Drink in 2026 and onwards.
RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The 2017 Monte Bello is ultra powerful and concentrated, unfurling over the several days it was open to reveal rich cassis, roast plums, tar, aniseed and exotic spices. What sets the palate apart is its purity: though incredibly layered, it offers a kaleidoscopic journey from blackcurrant to tobacco and dried flowers, offering continual sparks of flavor long after the wine has been swallowed. Structurally, it has the firm but ripe tannins and seamless freshness to dictate a very long life in the cellar. This vintage is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc.

WS 96
Wine Spectator
Distinctive, with vibrant violet, juniper and anise notes out front, backed by a core of intense dark currant, plum and cherry fruit. Firmly grounded, showing serious cut and drive through the bay leaf– and sage-accented finish, which sports ample toast alongside the fruit and floral elements. A chiseled, ripped Cabernet for the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2023 through 2040.
CG 94
Connoisseurs' Guide

15% Merlot; 8% Petit Verdot; 4% Cabernet Franc. One of California’s most iconic Cabernets since its inaugural release some fifty years back, the Ridge Monte Bello bottling justly remains so to this day. Never one that dazzles with opulence or that flaunts high ripeness and overly conspicuous oak at the expense of precise fruit and fitting its winery’s classic, very elegant form to a “tee” in 2017, this wine is about structure and depth and claret-like composure that is years away from reaching its sophisticated best. Hide it away for a decade or more and please be sure not to make the mistake of pulling its cork too soon.

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Ridge

Ridge

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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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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.

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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. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.

CWC371208_17_2017 Item# 662484

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