82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Santa Cruz Mountains
Ruby/purple color. Blackberry, red currant, exotic barrel spice, crushed rock. Intense red fruit entry. Coated tannins, full body, firm acid, toasted oak. Complex, layered flavors; long finish.
For a second consecutive year, an unusually cool growing season pushed the last of harvest into November. Thinning reduced yields, but assured ripeness and depth of flavor; cold nights slowed sugar development while maintaining acidity. Natural yeast fermentations were complete within eight days. Half the press wine was initially held out, but included this spring for additional complexity. Twenty-one months’ aging in air-dried american oak barrels has provided natural clarity and supple tannins. The excellent 2011 Estate balances Monte Bello’s cool-climate fruit, mineral elements, and firm acidity. Sensuous and beautifully defined, it will develop further over the next fourteen years. EB (6/13)
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: 36 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall
Harvest Dates: 19 October – 9 November
Grapes: Average Brix 23.8
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, 100% whole berries. Fermented on the native yeasts. Pressed at eight days. Natural malolactic (30% in barrel, 70% in tank).
Selection: Seventeen of twenty-five Estate Cabernet parcels.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (20% new, 40% one and two years old, and 40% three to four years old).
Aging: Twenty-one months in barrel
Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes, indigenous yeasts, naturally occurring malolactic bacteria, minimum effective SO2.
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 distinct parcels; minimum effective sulfur (35ppm at crush, 82ppm during aging); a fining of eight fresh, organic egg whites per barrel to soften the texture of the tough tannins. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Vinous Media (July 2014): “Ridge’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is quite laid back in this vintage. Sweet floral notes meld into red stone fruits, pomegranate and cinnamon. In keeping with the style of the year, the 2011 is medium in body, feminine and gracious. Best of all, it will drink well pretty much right out of the gate.” -Antonio Galloni (Rated: 92)
Wine & Spirits (October 2014): “Blended from lots that didn’t make it into the flagship Monte Bello, Ridge’s 2011 Estate is still a pretty classic Santa Cruz Mountains cabernet, shot through with cassis aromas, bright acidity and dark, mineral tannins. Tame its taut, tannic density with a rib eye.” (Rated: 91)
California Grapevine (Vol. 40, June 2014): “Medium dark to dark purplish ruby; attractive, intense, blackberry fruit aroma with spicy notes and hints of cassis, cedar, and espresso; full body; big, rich, firmly structured, blueberry and blackberry fruit flavors; full tannin; a bit rough on the finish with a note of charred oak; lingering aftertaste. Needs a few more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended.”(Group Score: 16.1 of 20 points, 1/1/2; My Score: 17 (90/100), third place)
Average Rating: 90.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 204
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