76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot
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.
A warm, dry, growing season began a month early, and fine weather continued through summer for an early October harvest. Rapid extraction prompted us to shorten fermentation times and frequency of pump-overs. Once natural malolactics finished in barrel, we chose lots with great fruit definition and elegant structure for the assemblage, and returned the wine to barrel for continued aging. In late fall, a complex press lot was included, providing additional depth and richness. Nineteen months in barrel has softened tannins and clarified the wine. Sensuous and enjoyable now, it will continue to develop over the next twelve to fifteen years. EB (5/14)
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: 18 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early 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
Sustainably farmed, hand harvested, Estate-grown grapes; destemmed and sorted; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 0.43g/L calcium carbonate to moderate unusually high natural acidity in four of twenty distinct parcels; 2.5% water addition to seven of the fifteen lots; minimum effective sulfur (25 ppm at crush, 129 ppm during aging); a fining of 1.5 fresh, organic egg whites per barrel for the press wine; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes; indigenous yeasts; naturally occurring malolactic bacteria; 2.5% water addition; calcium carbonate; egg whites; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective SO2
The Wine Advocate (October 2015): 92 Points. “Another terrific wine, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (incorporates 24% Merlot) is an inky, structured effort that has lots of blackberry, cassis, scorched earth and toasted spice notes giving way to a full-bodied, concentrated and tannic profile on the palate. Beautifully concentrated, it still has a serious amount of tannin and I wouldn’t touch a bottle for another 4-5 years. It will have an easy two decades or more of overall longevity.” – Jeb Dunnuck
Average Rating: 91.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 140
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