2017 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA

2017 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA

Product: 20178005188
Prices start from £1,065.00 per case Buying options
2017 Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA

Description

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.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (August 2020)

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About this WINE

Ridge Vineyards

Ridge Vineyards

Ridge Vineyards makes wines that compete in terms of quality and desirability with Bordeaux First Growths and Grand Cru White Burgundies. Winemaker Paul Draper has crafted 43 vintages at Ridge and his practical, hands-off approach to winemaking has resulted in an exceptional and highly sought-after range of wines.

Although a vineyard was first planted near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1885, it lay abandoned until four Stanford Research Institute engineers bought it in 1959. Ridge Vineyards was formed in 1962 and Paul Draper was appointed as winemaker in 1969. After stunning the world by their triumph in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting, Ridge Vineyards shot to fame and gained cult status almost overnight.

Since then, Ridge has concentrated on producing fine Bordeaux blends and Chardonnays from Monte Bello's exalted terroir as well as renowned Zinfandels from the Lytton Springs and Geyserville vineyards in Sonoma County.

Ridge's ethos is simple: 100% dedication in the vineyards to grow the most concentrated and flavoursome grapes followed by 100% dedication in the winery with minimum intervention to draw all the fruit's natural richness into the wine.

Paul Draper has studiously dedicated himself to employing traditional Old World methods in the creation of his wines, resulting in silky smooth reds with fine tannins and glorious fruit. The wines are racked and fined but remain unfiltered so as not to lose any character before being matured in new American oak barrels.

Ridge Monte Bello, once pure Cabernet, has been a Cabernet-dominated blend since 1975 with varying quantities, depending on the vintage, of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc to add complexity to the final wine. The Monte Bello Chardonnay, arguably California's most respected white wine, is elegantly structured and rivals the finest White Burgundy Grand Crus.

Since 1972 Ridge has also specialised in top-quality Zinfandel blends from the Lytton Springs and Geyserville vineyards in Sonoma County and in 1979 the Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet blend joined the range to offer a softer, earlier drinking companion to the famed Monte Bello.

Discover the story behind our Own Selection Zinfandel, made for us by Ridge. Read more

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Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley, approximately 16 miles long and 2 miles wide, is based around the Dry Creek river in Sonoma County, a tributary of the Russian River. The AVA has earned a reputation for its Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. The valley remains a rural setting for small family wineries, yet at the same time it is home to the Sonoma wing of the industry giant, Gallo Wineries .

Zinfandel has long established its position as the valley's top red grape, and its second revival since the late 1990s' brought Dry Creek Valley back in the limelight. Dry Creek Valley has actually succeeded in rivaling Amador County in the Sierra Foothills as a stronghold of Zinfandel. Sauvignon Blanc is the valley's signature white grape.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah have also made successful inroads in Dry Creek Valley. Both are growing in acreage as Zinfandel has reached a peak.

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Cab.Sauvignon

Cab.Sauvignon

The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.

It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.

The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.

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Critics reviews

The Wine Advocate98-100/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous97+/100
Jancis Robinson MW18.5+/20
Wine Spectator 96/100
Jeb Dunnuck100/100
The Wine Advocate98-100/100
Destined to rank as one of the all-time greats from Ridge, the 2017 Monte Bello opens in the glass with youthfully complex notes of ripe plums, cassis, espresso roast and black truffles, with little apparent trace of its time in 100% new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and incredibly concentrated, with a rich, layered mid-palate and immense substance that marks it out as the most richly tannic Monte Bello since 2013. As ever, the acids are vibrant, with a classic pH of around 3.5—notably lower than most Cabernet Sauvignons from contemporary Bordeaux or Napa Valley, thanks to this site's limestone soils and high altitude. At the time of writing, the blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, though that may change by the time it's bottled. Eric Baugher observes that fermentations were slow in 2017, which protracted the period of extraction, partially accounting for this vintage's power. It's still a baby, but this is a strong contender for a perfect score when it's bottled in over a year's time—and it should see out its 50th birthday in style.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (May 2018) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous97+/100
The 2017 Monte Bello continues to develop beautifully. A heady, opulent wine, the 2017 also has tons of supporting structure to balance things out. Layers of dark red/purplish fruit give the 2017 remarkable primary intensity, with hints of licorice, mocha, dried flowers and menthol that build over time, hinting at the wine's ultimate potential. Sensual and exotic, but with plenty of tannic clout, the 2017 has a very bright future. Today, it is decidedly explosive. In 2017, the berries were small, and that high skin-to-juice ratio yielded a Monte Bello that is quite imposing in the early going. 
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (September 2020) Read more
Jancis Robinson MW18.5+/20
Inky garnet. Aromas of pencil shavings and American oak layered over darker black plum and cassis. Beautifully sculpted tannins wrap around a core of cassis, black cherry and blueberry fruit that has a stony, earthy depth. Excellent acidity and balance contribute to this wine's characteristic of utter seamlessness that is so compelling. The cedar, coconut and whiskey barrel notes of the American oak are present, as are the muscles that wood brings to the tannins, which stiffen as the wine finishes with notes of herbs and blackberry. Most Monte Bellos benefit from ageing, and this will be no exception. It is darker and a bit more brooding on release than the 2016 or 2015. Give it 5 to 10 years and watch it sing. Outstanding.
Alder Yarrow, jancisrobinson.com (September 2020) Read more
Wine Spectator 96/100
The 2017 Monte Bello continues to develop beautifully. A heady, opulent wine, the 2017 also has tons of supporting structure to balance things out. Layers of dark red/purplish fruit give the 2017 remarkable primary intensity, with hints of licorice, mocha, dried flowers and menthol that build over time, hinting at the wine's ultimate potential. Sensual and exotic, but with plenty of tannic clout, the 2017 has a very bright future. Today, itDistinctive, 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.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (August 2020) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck100/100
Destined to rank as one of the all-time greats from Ridge, the 2017 Monte Bello opens in the glass with youthfully complex notes of ripe plums, cassis, espresso roast and black truffles, with little apparent trace of its time in 100% new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and incredibly concentrated, with a rich, layered mid-palate and immense substance that marks it out as the most richly tannic Monte Bello since 2013. As ever, the acids are vibrant, with a classic pH of around 3.5—notably lower than most Cabernet Sauvignons from contemporary Bordeaux or Napa Valley, thanks to this site's limestone soils and high altitude. At the time of writing, the blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, though that may change by the time it's bottled. Eric Baugher observes that fermentations were slow in 2017, which protracted the period of extraction, partially accounting for this vintage's power. It's still a baby, but this is a strong contender for a perfect score when it's bottled in over a year's time—and it should see out its 50th birthday in style.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (May 2018) Read more