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Ridge Vineyards, “Monte Bello” Cabernet SauvignonSanta Cruz Mountains, California 2011 (750mL)

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Ridge Vineyards, “Monte Bello” Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains, California 2011 (750mL)

“America’s “First Growth” Cabernet! Before “Cult” Napa Mountain Cab was all the buzz and fetching insane prices, there was Ridge’s “Monte Bello” from the Santa Cruz Mountains. We scored a small parcel of this library release direct from their mountain winery. Provenance couldn’t be better!”

Ridge Vineyards is described as “the most internationally admired producer of American Cabernet Sauvignon” by the Oxford Companion to Wine. Since the first commercial release of "Monte Bello" in 1962, there are very few American wines that have racked up the accolades this one has: everything from a top-five finish in the 1976 "Judgement of Paris" to four perfect scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Monte Bello is all about a sense of place. Cabernet Sauvignon and sister Bordeaux varieties sit high atop the Santa Cruz Mountains on a shelf of decomposed limestone and Franciscan rock, in one of the coolest sites to grow Cabernet in California. 

This 2011 has hit its sweet spot. Decant for an hour or two and then admire its great structure, staggering complexity, and impeccable balance. The wine is still showing off a saturated ruby-purple hue with slight brick edges. Marvelously scented rich mountain bramble fruit meets an array of tertiary notes, including anise, cardamom, and flint. Blackberry and cassis notes coat the palate with hints of coffee, forest floor, and crushed rocks. The true marker for “Monte Bello” is the elegant chalky tannins and refreshing acidity that makes it way on the back end to set up for a seamless finish. Have a backup so you can tuck one away for another decade!

  • CountryUnited States
  • RegionCentral Coast, California
  • Sub-RegionSanta Cruz Mountains
  • SoilClay layered over Decomposing Limestone
  • FarmingSustainable / Pursuing Organic Certification.
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 88%, Merlot 8%, Cabernet Franc 4%
  • Alcohol12.8%
  • Oak99% New American & 1% New French
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareLarge Bordeaux Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2040
  • Decanting60-90 Minutes
  • PairingTuscan Porterhouse Steak w/ Red Wine Peppercorn Jus

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