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 vines—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.
Harvest Dates: 3 October - 5 November
Grapes: Average Brix 24.1°
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, 100% whole berries. Fermented on the native
yeasts. Pressed at eight days. Natural malolactic (45% in barrel, 55% in tank).
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (16% new, 43% one year, and 41% two years old).
Aging: Twenty Two months in barrel
Rainfall: 33 inches (average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Cool, late spring; cold summer and long, mild fall.
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 separate fermentors;
minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 94 ppm during aging); a fining of seven
fresh egg white per barrel to soften tough tannins. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping
with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Winemaker Tasting Notes
Aromas of blackberries, cassis, violets, and licorice. Dark berry flavors together with
crushed rock minerals, cocoa, exotic oak spice, and chaparral. Full bodied with chalky tannins and lively acidity.