2018 Ridge Monte Bello

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2018 Ridge Monte Bello

James Suckling 97
Wine Advocate 97
Vinous 96
  • S$48297

Vintage : 2018

Country : USA

Region : Santa Cruz

About Winery

Ridge Vineyards is a famed Californian wine producer founded in 1962, and based in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but with vineyards in several parts of the state. Its flagship wine, Monte Bello, is a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux blend known for delivering the complexity and elegance of Bordeaux wines, as well as typical California fruit intensity.

It is also well known for its range of Zinfandel wines and Zinfandel-based blends, led by the Geyserville cuvée. Wines made from Petite Sirah, Carignan and a Grenache – Mataro blend have also been longstanding features in the range, and Ridge has made a small amount of Chardonnay each vintage for many decades.

In recent years the portfolio has expanded considerably. Newer additions include a Lytton Estate Rosé, a limited-release Mendocino Falanghina, and a trio of Rhône-variety white wines from Adelaida Vineyard in Paso Robles.

The renowned trio of vineyards, Monte Bello, Geyservillle and Lytton Springs account for the majority of Ridge's production, with the remainder coming from the estate's East Bench site and a number of key contract growers.

Montebello is situated at around 800m (2600ft) above sea level in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a few miles south of San Jose. The history of the Monte Bello vineyard and winery dates back to the 1880s. 

All of the Bordeaux varieties are grown on the Monte Bello vineyard. Those plots that have been shown to provide the most ageworthy, complex wines go into the flagship wine, which bears the vineyard's name.

The remaining parcels, which tend to produce relatively approachable, youthful wines, are earmarked for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Blind tastings confirm the selection and the wines are blended over two sessions in the following February and May.

Klein Cabernet Sauvignon is a barrel selection from a part of the estate planted by the Alsatian Pierre Klein in the late 1880s. The Estate Chardonnay also comes from the Monte Bello Estate vineyards.

Geyserville is an estate (and township) located in the Alexander Valley AVA, Sonoma County. It lies more than 100 miles by car to the north of Monte Bello.

The property is owned by the Trentadue family who, since 1966, have sold grapes to Ridge for the single-site, Zinfandel-based wine of the same name. It is home to the oldest vines farmed by Ridge, with some in the "Old Patch" more than 130 years of age.

Lytton Springs is also known for powerful Zinfandel. It is located in Dry Creek Valley AVA, neighboring Alexander Valley to the west. Ridge first purchased grapes from 1972, then bought the estate outright in 1991.

Winemaking across the portfolio combines old-school techniques with sophisticated laboratory analysis to give early warnings of any problems. Ridge only uses native yeasts, and avoids filtration in favor of settling and racking with occasional egg-white fining.

Paul Draper, who joined Ridge in 1969, is one of the world's most celebrated winemakers. His awards include Decanter Man of the Year (2000), COPIA Award for winemaking (2004) and the James Beard Award (2007). In 2015, a Decanter Magazine poll of his peers voted him in the top five most admired winemakers in the world.

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Ridge Vineyards is a famed Californian wine producer founded in 1962, and based in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but with vineyards in several parts of the state. Its flagship wine, Monte Bello, is a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux blend known for delivering the complexity and elegance of Bordeaux wines, as well as typical California fruit intensity.

It is also well known for its range of Zinfandel wines and Zinfandel-based blends, led by the Geyserville cuvée. Wines made from Petite Sirah, Carignan and a Grenache – Mataro blend have also been longstanding features in the range, and Ridge has made a small amount of Chardonnay each vintage for many decades.

In recent years the portfolio has expanded considerably. Newer additions include a Lytton Estate Rosé, a limited-release Mendocino Falanghina, and a trio of Rhône-variety white wines from Adelaida Vineyard in Paso Robles.

The renowned trio of vineyards, Monte Bello, Geyservillle and Lytton Springs account for the majority of Ridge's production, with the remainder coming from the estate's East Bench site and a number of key contract growers.

Montebello is situated at around 800m (2600ft) above sea level in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a few miles south of San Jose. The history of the Monte Bello vineyard and winery dates back to the 1880s. 

All of the Bordeaux varieties are grown on the Monte Bello vineyard. Those plots that have been shown to provide the most ageworthy, complex wines go into the flagship wine, which bears the vineyard's name.

The remaining parcels, which tend to produce relatively approachable, youthful wines, are earmarked for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Blind tastings confirm the selection and the wines are blended over two sessions in the following February and May.

Klein Cabernet Sauvignon is a barrel selection from a part of the estate planted by the Alsatian Pierre Klein in the late 1880s. The Estate Chardonnay also comes from the Monte Bello Estate vineyards.

Geyserville is an estate (and township) located in the Alexander Valley AVA, Sonoma County. It lies more than 100 miles by car to the north of Monte Bello.

The property is owned by the Trentadue family who, since 1966, have sold grapes to Ridge for the single-site, Zinfandel-based wine of the same name. It is home to the oldest vines farmed by Ridge, with some in the "Old Patch" more than 130 years of age.

Lytton Springs is also known for powerful Zinfandel. It is located in Dry Creek Valley AVA, neighboring Alexander Valley to the west. Ridge first purchased grapes from 1972, then bought the estate outright in 1991.

Winemaking across the portfolio combines old-school techniques with sophisticated laboratory analysis to give early warnings of any problems. Ridge only uses native yeasts, and avoids filtration in favor of settling and racking with occasional egg-white fining.

Paul Draper, who joined Ridge in 1969, is one of the world's most celebrated winemakers. His awards include Decanter Man of the Year (2000), COPIA Award for winemaking (2004) and the James Beard Award (2007). In 2015, a Decanter Magazine poll of his peers voted him in the top five most admired winemakers in the world.

Winemaker Notes
Complex aromas of blackberry, tobacco, roasted coffee bean and wintergreen. On the palate, concentrated plum layered with well-coated tannins, firm acidity, oak spice and notes of licorice on the long finish. 

Vintage Notes

Abundant winter rainfall followed by warm spring weather created ideal growing conditions. With the exception of merlot, the vines set a big crop. Fortunately, a long warm summer fully ripened all varietals in early October. During blind tastings, a record forty-one separate lots were assembled to create this vintage of Monte Bello. Structured and opulent, it will be enjoyable for the next twentyfive to thirty years. 

 

 

97 points James Suckling
A bright and beautiful Monte Bello with dark and black fruit, such as blackcurrants, as well as walnuts and hints of vanilla. Full-bodied with creamy tannins that are there from start to finish. Turns lightly dusty. Beautiful length. Really pure and focused. Needs time to come together completely, but already a beauty. Drink after 2025. (4/2021)

94-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I tasted the 2018 Monte Bello as a finished barrel sample during the annual Ridge Monte Bello Tasting Final Assemblage event; the blend was 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 11% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and youthfully primary nose with boysenberry, blueberry jam, blackcurrant, dark chocolate-covered cherries, cigar box, graphite, loamy earth and oodles of floral character. The palate is medium to full-bodied and packed full of flavor layers, knit by very fine, ripe, pixelated tannins and great freshness and finishing very long. (LPB) 94-97+(2/2020)

96 points Vinous
The 2018 Monte Bello is a wine of extraordinary finesse. Although it doesn’t have the body or overt richness of some recent vintages, it more than makes up for that with its total sense of harmony. Lavender, mocha, spice, licorice and dried flowers all develop in a sublime, refined Monte Bello that will thrill Ridge lovers. This is an especially elegant, lithe vintage for Monte Bello that is marked by a dry year with no heat spikes and a very long harvest that wrapped up in late October. (AG) 96+ (9/2020)

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