Ridge 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Ridge 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate bottle shot

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, bottled August 2013
82% cabernet sauvignon, 14% merlot, 3% petit verdot, 1% cabernet franc
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
13.0% alcohol by volume

Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (back label) - For a second consecutive year, an unusually cool growing season pushed the last of harvest into November. Thinning reduced yields, but assured ripeness and depth of flavor; cold nights slowed sugar development while maintaining acidity. Natural yeast fermentations were complete within eight days. Half the press wine was initially held out, but included this spring for additional complexity. Twenty-one months' aging in air-dried american oak barrels has provided natural clarity and supple tannins. The excellent 2011 Estate balances Monte Bello's cool-climate fruit, mineral elements, and firm acidity. Sensuous and beautifully defined, it will develop further over the next fourteen years. EB (6/13)

Tasting Notes - Ruby/purple color. Blackberry, red currant, exotic barrel spice, crushed rock. Intense red fruit entry. Coated tannins, full body, firm acid, toasted oak. Complex, layered flavors; long finish. -Eric Baugher (1/14)

Video Tasting Note

Presented by winemaker Eric Baugher


In 1886 the Monte Bello vineyard was first planted and construction on the winery begun. The first vintage was in 1892. In the early 1940s, the last of the old vineyard was abandoned; in the late forties a few blocks were replanted. Those cabernet vine — now sixty years old — produced the first Ridge Monte Bello (1962) and subsequent vintages until the mid-seventies. By then, abandoned blocks replanted during the sixties were maturing, and their fruit considered for use in the Monte Bello. A number of those consistently produced a more accessible wine that developed its full complexity earlier and these were combined as the "Santa Cruz Mountains." With the 2008 vintage the name of this stylistically distinct wine becomes Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, stressing the varietal and the Monte Bello vineyard as its source.


Monte Bello map

First RIDGE Santa Cruz Mountains: 1979
Location: Monte Bello Ridge overlooking San Francisco from the Santa Cruz Mountains, a unique appellation separating the North Coast from the Central Coast but not a part of either.
Elevation: 1300' - 2670'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with clay/loam over fractured limestone sub-soils.
Age of Vines: Oldest 1949; further plantings in 1968/9, 1972, 1982, 1987/8, 1990, 1995, 1997/8, 2008.
Training: Head-trained, cane-pruned on vertical trellis, vertical shoot positioned
Irrigation: Non-irrigated. (Exception: new vines receive drip irrigation until established.)
Climate: Cool, mountainous — between the Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally south/southeast
Yields: 1.8 tons per acre
Farming: Sustainably farmed

Video Profile: Monte Bello Vineyard

The Monte Bello vineyard, narrated by winemaker Eric Baugher. (uploaded to YouTube on 21 October 2014)

Aerial View - Torre Vineyard

View Larger Map

GPS coordinates: 37° 17' 59" N, 122° 06' 56" W
Note: Monte Bello tasting room at this location.

Growing Season

Monte Bello soil

Rainfall: 36 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall


Harvest Dates: 19 October - 9 November
Grapes: Average Brix 23.8°
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, 100% whole berries. Fermented on the native yeasts. Pressed at eight days. Natural malolactic (30% in barrel, 70% in tank).
Selection:Seventeen of twenty-five Estate Cabernet parcels.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (20% new, 40% one and two years old, and 40% three to four years old).
Aging: Twenty-one months in barrel


Estate-grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and sorted. Fermented on the native yeasts, full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. 88mg/L calcium carbonate to moderate unusually high natural acidity in eight of twenty-two distinct parcels; minimum effective sulfur (35ppm at crush, 82ppm during aging); a fining of eight fresh, organic egg whites per barrel to soften the texture of the tough tannins. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Bottle UPC Packaged SRP Notes
750mL 744442279005 12x750mL $50 60 cases/pallet (15 per layer)
375mL 744442270002 12x375mL $27  
1.5L 744442272006 6x1.5L $103  


SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)


  • Vinous Media logo Vinous Media (July 2014): "Ridge's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is quite laid back in this vintage. Sweet floral notes meld into red stone fruits, pomegranate and cinnamon. In keeping with the style of the year, the 2011 is medium in body, feminine and gracious. Best of all, it will drink well pretty much right out of the gate." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 92)
    Read review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
  • Wine & Spirits Wine & Spirits (October 2014) - "Blended from lots that didn't make it into the flagship Monte Bello, Ridge's 2011 Estate is still a pretty classic Santa Cruz Mountains cabernet, shot through with cassis aromas, bright acidity and dark, mineral tannins. Tame its taut, tannic density with a rib eye." (Rated: 91)
  • California Grapevine California Grapevine (Vol. 40, June 2014): "Medium dark to dark purplish ruby; attractive, intense, blackberry fruit aroma with spicy notes and hints of cassis, cedar, and espresso; full body; big, rich, firmly structured, blueberry and blackberry fruit flavors; full tannin; a bit rough on the finish with a note of charred oak; lingering aftertaste. Needs a few more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended."
    (Group Score: 16.1 of 20 points, 1/1/2; My Score: 17 (90/100), third place)