May 26, 2019
Steven Spurrier selects our 2016 Estate Cabernet as his top pick for the cellar in his wine’s of the month column for Decanter’s July issue:
For the cellar
Ridge, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Ridge Vineyards in California and visionary winemaker Paul Draper (Decanter Hall of Fame Award 2000 winner) need no introduction, and neither does the famed Monte Bello vineyard – first planted in 1886 but left abandoned by the early 1940s to be replanted a little later, the Cabernet Sauvignon vines now more than 65 years old. Research and tasting in the new millennium showed that certain blocks consistently produced a more accessible wine that developed Monte Bello’s full complexity earlier, and from 2008 these were combined under the Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Cabernet label, stressing the principal variety and the Monte Bello estate vineyard as its source. The 2016 vintage of this ‘baby Monte Bello’ is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc from the more vigorous, lower slopes of the mountain vineyard. It reveals a really lovely fragrance of red and black fruit on the nose that continues on the palate – supple, juicy yet still reserved, the wine is all there waiting to fully open up from 2020, with a decade in front of it. Ageing for 17 months in air-dried American oak, only 35% new, has enhanced the natural fruit, while minimum filtration preserves the wine in the bottle.