Ridge 2010 Monte Bello®
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.
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
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
Climate: Cool, mountainous – between the Mediterranean and Maritime Zones.
Exposure: Principally south/southeast
Yield: 1.34 tons per acre
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.
60 six-packs/pallet (6 per layer)
3L double magnum
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
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+)
review online at VinousMedia.com (may require subscription)
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
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 Ridgeâ€™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 worldâ€™s
most singular expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon."
(Rated: 96, 19/20)
slideshow online at Decanter.com (may require subscription)
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 (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.com