100% Cabernet Sauvignon
100 Points – William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
98 Points – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Santa Cruz Mountains
In the superb harvest of 1974, both the seven and the thirty-year-old vines matured fully and gave us a wine with the richness and complexity of a great vintage. The secondary fermentation was complete by that December and the wine was racked to small oak cooperage. This intense Cabernet will be showing considerable depth by next fall, but should have five to ten years of bottle age to develop fully.
Ridge wine is made with an emphasis on quality and naturalness that is rarely attempted. Our grapes are grown in select vineyards (usually identified on the label), where they are left to ripen to peak maturity, often at some loss of quantity. We let the wine settle and age in small barrels, with only rare cellar treatment other than racking. Varieties are not blended unless so indicated on the label. Near Black Mountain on Monte Bello Ridge, our main vineyard is 10 miles south of Palo Alto, 15 miles inland from the ocean, and over 2000 feet in elevation.
The Wine Advocate (May 2018): 100 Points. “The 1974 Monte Bello is a spectacular wine that’s in its prime today, soaring from the glass with an exuberant bouquet of ripe cherries, plums, cigar box, black truffle and petroleum jelly. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and powerful, with a dramatically lavish attack, considerable mid-palate amplitude and a deep core of ripe, succulent fruit framed by melting tannins and juicy acids. There’s still some chalky grip on the long, savory finish, and I’d expect this to drink well for another decade or two. 1974 was a great vintage for California Cabernet Sauvignon, and Ridge’s Monte Bello is right up there with the likes of Heitz’s Martha’s Vineyard and Phelps’s Insignia as one of the year’s qualitative pinnacles.” – William Kelley
Wine Spectator (June 2019): 98 Points. “1974 Monte Bello has a light sous bois note leading off, but it shows remarkable fullness and depth as it airs in the glass, with mulled blood orange and black cherry fruit showing a still-fresh and pure profile. The long and beguiling finish lets embers of black tea, chalk and sage brush play through deftly. It’s very long, shows no signs of being tired (while it is clearly fully mature) and stands as a testament to this legendary vintage.” – James Molesworth
Average Rating: 93.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 19
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