93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot
95 Points – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Santa Cruz Mountains
The ten distinct blocks of the Monte Bello Vineyard are made separately. After secondary fermentation, we begin a series of blind tastings to determine which are of the quality and character we require for our estate wine. In 1985, 45% of the production was not included in the Monte Bello. (These softer wines will be released as Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet.) In this rich, complex Monte Bello the tannins are firm but round. By achieving balance without affecting the underlying structure, we have made a twenty-five-year wine of superb quality.
Founded in 1959, Ridge was one of the first of today’s small, fine California wineries- limiting production to achieve the highest quality. From the beginning, close adherence to traditional winemaking techniques has set Ridge apart. This approach determines our style and includes the use of natural yeasts in extended, submerged-cap fermentations, aging in small oak cooperage, and careful racking at every transfer to achieve clarity. Located above 2300 feet on Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains, our winery overlooks San Francisco Bay.
Wine Spectator (June 2019): 95 Points. “The 1985 Monte Bello shows an old-school edge, leading off with dark olive and bay notes. It’s a smoky-eyed beauty as it moves through, showing dried flower, mulled red currant and black cherry fruit and a long, suave finish carried by mouthwatering sanguine and chalk notes. It’s at its peak for me.” – James Molesworth
The Wine Advocate (May 2018): 93 Points. “As it approaches age 33, the 1985 Monte Bello is also at its peak—and at its best, this is capable of challenging the 1984 for the title of vintage of the decade. The wine wafts from the glass with aromas of minty cassis, raspberries, wild plums, loamy soil and sweet cigar box. On the palate, it’s fully mature, with melted tannins and a nice girdle of acidity that carries through the long finish. The 1984 is more concentrated and powerful, but the 1985 is an elegant middle-weight with beautifully melting tannins that should hold for a decade in a cold cellar. It’s a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot that attained 13.1% natural alcohol.” – William Kelley
The Wine Advocate (October 2016) 92 Points: – “Made from 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, the 1985 Mont Bello hit 13.1% natural alcohol, which is a ripe vintage for this estate. Today, it is fully mature and drinking at point, with complex, nuanced notes of tobacco leaf, spice box, underbrush and mature dark fruits. Classy, balanced and with no hard edges, drink this beauty over the coming 4-5 years.” -Jeb Dunnuck
Average Rating: 93.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 96
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