Ridge 2011 Monte Bello®

2011 Monte Bello bottle shot

2011 Monte Bello, bottled April 2013
88% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 4% cabernet franc
Monte Bello Parcels: 78 tons from 56 acres
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
12.8% alcohol by volume

Winemaker Eric Baugher's Notes (Back Label) - A long winter delayed the growing season. Summer temperatures remained cool as persistent fog covered much of Northern California. Monte Bello, whose elevation kept the grapes in full sun, was an exception. Following an October rain, two weeks of warm weather ripened the fruit for harvest before the next storm. Extraction of color and tannin required extended pump-overs. At first assemblage in February, seventeen of twenty-four parcels were selected. In May, two cabernets were added, and in late fall, a rich press wine. This exceptional example of the 2011 vintage is classic Monte Bello. Beautifully balanced now, it will continue to evolve over the next thirty years. EB (3/13)

Tasting Notes - Saturated ruby/purple color. Marvelously-scented rich mountain bramble fruit, intense anise/fennel, ginger, cardamom, flint. Black currant/cassis entry, coffee, forest floor, crushed rock. Full body, elegant chalky tannins, refreshing acidity in a lengthy finish. -Eric Baugher (1/14)

Video: 2011 Monte Bello Tasting Notes

Watch winemaker Eric Baugher taste and talk about the 2011 Monte Bello. (uploaded to YouTube on 18 August 2014).

Video: 2011 Monte Bello Final Assemblage

Winemakers Paul Draper and Eric Baugher discuss the second and final assemblage of the 2011 Monte Bello, our flagship cabernet (uploaded to YouTube on 29 May 2012).

Video: Scenes from the First 2011 Monte Bello Assemblage Tasting

Scenes from the first 2011 Monte Bello assemblage tasting (uploaded to YouTube on 16 February 2012).


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' - 2760'
Soils: Decomposing Franciscan green stone mixed with clay, laid over fractured limestone.
Age of Vines: Cabernet sauvignon planted 1949-1995, 66.4 acres; Merlot planted 1968- 1997, 12.8 acres; Cabernet franc planted 1969-2008, 3.2 acres
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
Yield: 1.35 tons per acre

Video Profile: Monte Bello Vineyard

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

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


Harvest Dates: 19 October - 8 November
Grapes: Average Brix 23.9°
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, 100% whole berries. Automated berry sorting followed by hand sorting. Fermented on native yeasts. Pressed at eight days. Natural malolactic (15% in tank, 85% in barrel).
Selection: Nineteen of twenty-four Monte Bello parcels
Barrels: 99% new air-dried american oak; 1% new french oak (for comparison.)
Aging: Sixteen 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. 0.21 g/L calcium carbonate to moderate the unusually high natural acidity in twelve of the nineteen parcels; minimum effective sulfur 30ppm at crush, 121ppm 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 3x750mL/woodbox (US)
6x750mL/woodbox (export)
$165 60 six-packs/pallet (6 per layer)
375mL half 744442100002 12x375mL $85  
1.5L magnum 744442102006 3x1.5L/woodbox $333  
3L double magnum 744442106004 1x3L $730 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.


  • International Wine Report International Wine Report (September 2014): "The 2011 Monte Bello is another superb showing which can be added to the long list of excellent wines from Ridge Vineyards. This immediately bursts open with intoxicating aromas of black cherries, ripe cassis, graphite, vanilla, violets and sweet spices. On the palate it delivers velvety layers of full-bodied richness, along with excellent concentration and balance. There is also a wonderful touch of mouthwatering acidity providing this lift as it heads into the long, voluptuous, finish. Even at this early stage this is flat-out delicious and hard to resist, but as many know Monte Bello has the reputation to age extremely well and this is no exception. This is composed of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. (Best 2015-2030)" (Rated: 94)
  • Vinous Media logo Vinous Media (July 2014): "The 2011 Monte Bello is quite open in this vintage. Silky, soft and accessible, the 2011 appears to be built for medium-term drinking. Sage, rosemary, lavender, licorice and menthol add complexity to a core of dark plum and cherries as the 2011 opens up in the glass. Overall, the 2011 is a solid Mont Bello, if a little less exciting than it was last year. In 2011, the blend is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc." -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 93)
    Read review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
  • QRW logo Quarterly Review of Wines (December 2014) - 32nd Annual Best of the Best: California Cabernet Sauvignon: "Big, deep, rich, power-packed, black fruit and smoky oak flavors—definitely for the long haul." -Richard Elia (Rated: Five Stars)
    Read entire article online at QRW.com
  • California Grapevine California Grapevine (Vol. 41, January 2015): "Medium-dark ruby; fragrant, herbal, spicy, dark cherry and blackberry fruit aroma with earthy and mineral notes, and hints of roasted coffee and vanilla; full body; tight, cedary, dark fruit flavors with sharp acidity; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Developed with airing, though needing another five years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended."
    (Group Score: 16.3, 0/0/0; My Score: 17 [91/100], eighth place)