The World’s Best Iconic Fine Wines – From Non-Iconic Fine Wine Regions

The Robb Report

April 2023

A recent article in The Robb Report talks about fine wines that meet all of the criteria of being iconic—”wines that have a pedigree for aging in the bottle, that are ‘best-in-class’, and have a secondary market value”—but may be lesser-known because they come from wine regions of the world that have not been given the ‘iconic’ designation. The report, written by Lewis Chester DipWSET, identifies a growing group of fine wine regions that have come to the fore over the last two decades and lists Monte Bello as one of the new world wines that earns his seal of approval for an iconic fine wine.

Ridge Vineyards | Monte Bello

Santa Cruz Mountains

“Ridge Vineyards was winner of the Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in the Americas Award in both 2021 and 2022. It beat out competition from all the top Napa Valley wineries, such as Harlan Estate, Dominus Estate and Screaming Eagle, as well as wineries from the rest of North and South America.

“It still baffles me how American fine wine consumers have not yet realised that Ridge Monte Bello is one of the very best fine wines consistently made in North America.”

“My only explanation is that the wine comes not from the iconic Napa Valley region, but from the non-iconic Santa Cruz Mountains. Another reason might be that it is made in a European-style, which is probably why it’s more highly valued by European collectors than Americans.

“To my mind, Ridge’s Monte Bello and Sassicaia are twins separated at birth. Although they don’t taste the same, they evoke the same feelings in me: class in a glass. I have told both Priscilla Incisa Della Rocchetta of Tenuta San Guido that makes Sassicaia and Paul Draper, the retired winemaker of Ridge Vineyards, of my comparison, and they have both promised to put on a Ridge Monte Bello/Sassicaia tasting so we can all decide if the comparison stands up to scrutiny. I am still waiting…

“My favourite vintages of Ridge Monte Bello are 1991, 1992 and 2001, preferably in large format (as always).”

–Lewis Chester

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