August 17, 2012 9:44 AM
The Fall 2012 issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine spotlights our Monte Bello vineyard as one of the world's top terroir-driven vineyard sites. "Some wines transport us to another place. They make us believe that the earth, the sun, the wind and the rain are present in the glass, their combination distinctive and delicious."
Category: U.S. California White
"Chardonnay thrives in the Kimmeridgian limestone of Chablis, an ancient seabed now planted to vines. There are few parallels to that soil in New World vineyards, though Ridge found one in Santa Cruz: a limestone seabed lifted 2,000 feet above the Pacific by a crash with the continental plate. Chardonnay planted here takes in the cold winds of the California coast while its roots explore the interstices of limestone for water and nutrition, They feed their grapes to a white cherry maturity of flavor, a complex range of lemon, forest under-brush, salt air and honey."
Category: U.S. California Red
"Monte Bello is a wine of nuance and harmony, its sleek structure and scents of truffles and tar giving it a traditional feel more often associated with the Old World than the New. The blend (of the 2008) is 72 percent cabernet sauvignon, the balance in merlot, grown on a limestone ridge under the cool influence of the Pacific 15 miles to the west. This vintage, from a relatively short crop, has impressive flavor impact without weight. It feels almost spherical, the supple tannins surrounding flavors of blueberries and black mushrooms, the freshness of the cabernet hinting at pipe tobacco. A pleasure to drink now, this is firmly built to age a decade or longer."
Terroir Tasting Report: Santa Cruz Mountains Soils
"We invited Ridge and Mount Eden to provide three vintages of their cabernets: 2008, 1997 and 1992. Ridge's Monte Bello Estate is on the North American Plate, an uplift of an ancient seabed that reaches heights of 2,700 feet; the soils are green stone and clay over decomposing limestone.
This comparison proved among the most captivating of the day. While the panel noted differences in the wines, they also commented on a strong Santa Cruz Mountain thread that ran through them.
The sophistication of the Ridge and Mount Eden cabernet reminded Corti of a comment by Guido Rossati, an Italian government enologist who published a book in 1900 after traveling through the New York Finger Lakes on to San Francisco, Los Angeles and back across the country. "He describes a winemaker in Cupertino, John T. Doyle, as very influential with the university," Corti recalled. "Rossati says that texturally, the finest cabernet he tasted in California was grown in Cupertino."
The complete article is only available in their print edition. Click here for an article summary.