80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Santa Cruz Mountains
Dark ruby to purple color; blackberries, cassis, violets, licorice; dark berry fruit entry, crushed rock minerals, chalky tannins, full bodied, lively acid, cocoa, exotic oak spice, chaparral.
A cold, wet winter set back bud-break and bloom by a month, and an unusually cool summer followed, slowing growth. In an effort to ensure full ripeness, we thinned the crop substantially. Harvest extended through October, finishing in early November. Cold nights chilled the fruit, delaying the start of natural fermentation until the fourth day. Each lot began malolactic spontaneously in tank, and finished in barrel a month later. The twenty-four parcels designated for the Estate Cabernet were blind-tasted in March, and twenty-two were selected for assemblage. This sensuous wine is enjoyable now, and will develop fully over the next decade. EB (6/12)
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 vine — 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.
Rainfall: 33 inches (average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Cool, late spring; cold summer and long, mild fall.
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
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.
Decanter (December 2013) – Decanter Top 50 Wines of The Year : “Great structure and precision, with deep cassis and black cherry fruit, cedar and forest-floor shadings, and an extraordinarily long finish.” (Rated: 95, 18.5/20)
Vinous Media (July 2013): “Readers who can’t (or don’t want to!) wait for Ridge’s Monte Bellos to hit their stride should consider the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. A gorgeous wine, the 2010 is laced with dark plum, black cherry, jasmine and crushed rocks aromas. Firm yet beautifully integrated tannins support the saline, crystalline finish.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 92)
Average Rating: 91.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 194
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