Ridge 2010 Monte Bello®

2010 Monte Bello bottle shot

2010 Monte Bello, bottled May 2012
74% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 4% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc
Monte Bello Parcels: 83.5 tons from 58 acres
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
13.2% alcohol by volume

Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (Back Label) - A long winter gave way to a cool growing season. The vines bloomed a month late, but caught up by September, and all twenty-four parcels were harvested in October. Fruit was destemmed, but not crushed, the whole berries sorted to remove stem fragments. Natural fermentations were vigorous; we pressed at day seven, on average. Uninoculated malolactics began in tank, and finished in barrel within three weeks; sixteen lots were selected at first assemblage in March. At second assemblage, an excellent cabernet parcel was added. Balanced tannins, firm acidity, and defined fruit distinguish this sensuous wine, which will continue to develop over the next thirty years. EB (3/12)

Tasting Notes - Intense briary mountain fruit, firm acid, black tea, chalky tannin, with mineral/wet rock in a long finish. EB (7/13)

Video Tasting Note

Presented by winemaker Eric Baugher


In 1886, high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the initial plantings of the Monte Bello estate vineyard were set out, and winery construction begun. A first vintage from the young vines followed in 1892. During Prohibition (1920-1933), the vineyard was not fully maintained; some vines survived into the late 30's, but by the 1940s they were effectively abandoned. Eight acres of cabernet sauvignon were replanted in 1949. These were the source of the first Ridge Monte Bello (1962). Since then, the historic vineyards on the ridge have gradually been replanted.


Monte Bello map

First RIDGE Monte Bello: 1962
Location: Monte Bello Ridge, in northern California's Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking the San Francisco 32 miles to the north to the north and the Pacific 15 miles to the west.
Elevation: 1300' - 2660'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with clay, laid over fractured limestone.
Vines: Cabernet sauvignon planted 1949-1993, 66.4 acres.
merlot planted 1968-1997, 12.8 acres.
petit verdot planted 1988-90, 2.1 acres.
Training: Head-trained. Cane pruned (on vertical trellis).
Irrigation: Non-irrigated. (Exception: new vines receive drip irrigation until established.)
Climate: Cool, mountainous – between the Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally south/southeast
Yield: 1.34 tons per acre

Aerial View

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: 33 inches (average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Cool, late spring, cold summer; long, mild fall.


Harvest Dates: 3 October - 1 November
Grapes: Average Brix 24.1°
Fermentation: Destemmed, but uncrushed. Automated berry sorting followed by hand sorting. Natural primary and secondary fermentations. Pressed at seven days.
Selection: Seventeen of twenty-four Monte Bello parcels
Barrels: 96% new air-dried american oak; 4% new french oak (for comparison.)
Aging: Eighteen months in barrel


Estate-grown Monte Bello grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and sorted. Fermented on the native yeasts, full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria. 0.11 g/L calcium carbonate to moderate the unusually high natural acidity in four of the seventeen parcels; minimum effective sulfur (30 ppm at crush, 99 ppm during aging). 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 744442101009 6x750mL/woodbox $160 60 six-packs/pallet (6 per layer)
375mL half 744442100002 12x375mL $82  
1.5L magnum 744442102006 3x1.5L/woodbox $323  
3L double magnum 744442106004 1x3L $710 individually boxed


SRP: suggested retail price per bottle (U.S. dollars)
*UPC number/barcode does not appear on Monte Bello label.
Monte Bello® is a registered trademark of Ridge Vineyards, Inc. in the US and other countries.


  • Vinous Media logo Vinous Media (July 2013): "Firm yet polished tannins provide the backbone for the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello. As impressive as it has always been, the 2010 is a structured, powerful wine that is likely to require considerable bottle age to show the full breadth of its pedigree. Black cherry, plum, cassis and graphite notes meld into the intense, mineral-infused finish. Dramatic and towering in style. The late harvest stretched into early November, resulting in a Monte Bello with a decidedly dark profile. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Personally, I can't wait to own the 2010." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 97+)
    Read review online at VinousMedia.com (may require subscription)
  • Wine Advocate Wine Advocate (Issue 202, August 2012): "The just-bottled 2010 Monte Bello combines pure structure and power in a rich, full-bodied style for this wine. Waves of dark red fruit, crushed rocks, flowers, mint and grilled herbs wrap around the long, insistent finish. Today, the 2010 is slightly more reticent than it was last year, but the wine comes to life the more it sits in the glass. Always classy, the 2010 Monte Bello impresses for its impeccable balance. Count me among those who will be thrilled to own this magnificent California classic. The 2010 is a decidedly virile, powerful Monte Bello, qualities winemaker Eric Baugher attributes to a year with a very cold summer and periods of heat that arrived only towards the tail end of the growing season. In 2010, the blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040.
    Indiana Jones and I have one thing in common — a fear of snakes. That is why every time I see the sign in the Ridge parking lot that reads 'Beware of rattlesnakes,' I get a little uneasy. So it's quickly into the tasting room for me. Winemaker Eric Baugher and his team have prepared a great tasting covering all of the Ridge classics, plus a few smaller-production bottlings I am tasting for the first time. This is a sublime set of new releases from one of this country's greatest heritage wineries. It's hard to know where to start, but the highlights are the 2009 Monte Bello, followed by the 2010, which will be released this year, plus some of the Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based wines. The 2010 harvest was not an easy one. The summer was very cold, as it was throughout California. Ridge was severely affected by August heat spikes that were crippling for Zinfandel. The wines that were bottled are the result of a severe selection of the best fruit that survived the heat." -Antonio Galloni
    (Rated: 96+)
  • Decanter Decanter (26 February 2014) - 8 exciting California wines worth seeking out - "If the US had a formal classification of estates or vineyards, such as those in Bordeaux or Burgundy, Ridge would be at the top of the list. This iconic property has been turning out spectacular wines for several decades under the inspired leadership of Paul Draper. The 2010 Monte Bello is set to be one of the great wines in Ridge’s history. Persistent graphite-infused notes support layers of expressive dark fruit in a powerful, structured wine built for cellaring. Those seeking more immediate gratification should try the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which has been terrific in recent vintages. Monte Bello remains one of the world’s most singular expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon." (Rated: 96, 19/20)
    View slideshow online at Decanter.com (may require subscription)

  • Wine & Spirits Wine & Spirits (December 2013) - Year's Best Cabernets & Blends - "Eric Baugher and Paul Draper select this wine from 58 acres at Monte Bello, predominately cabernet sauvignon (74 percent in 2010), with merlot (20 percent), petit verdot and cabernet franc. They shape the wine through careful sorting of the grapes, fermenting without added yeast, pressing to new American oak barrels after seven days. The wine then ages two stories down in the 19th-century limestone cellar carved out of the ridge 2,600 feet above the Pacific. The wine, rooted in that same limestone, provide a massive wine, substantial in its structure, generous in its vibrant fruit flavors, gracious in its tannins. While fruit is at the center of the wine, it's savory and sophisticated rather than overly sweet. The flavors touch on small berries--black currants, wild blue berries--and also hint at herbs (tarragon, tobacco). This is a terrific vintage of Monte Bello: It feels healthy and sound, with tension and drive that will sustain it for decades in the cellar." (Rated: 96)
  • San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle (2 December 2013) - Top 100 Wines of 2013 - "Paul Draper is now the rare vintner opting for full disclosure on cellar work. Here he reveals a smidgen of deacidification in a cool, sleek vintage - and one of the best Monte Bellos of the decade. If just a touch behind the timeless 2009, this is still a nearly perfect wine: dense, meaty and retaining the ethereal quality Ridge does so well. The savory sides - celery, beef broth, a mineral tang - combine with zesty blackcurrant fruit that always marks this historic site. Expect to enjoy it for at least another 20 years."
    Read article at SFGate.comArticle