Ridge 2011 Monte Bello®
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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)
review online at VinousMedia.com (subscription required)
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
flavorsâ€”definitely for the long haul."
-Richard Elia (Rated: Five Stars)
entire article online at QRW.com
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)