75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc
Santa Cruz Mountains
Ruby-tinged opaque purple. Ripe blackberry, cassis. Violets, espresso, dark chocolate, caramelized sugar. Concentrated briar fruit, full body, chalky tannins. Layers of licorice, cola, sweet oak. Complex limestone/mineral elements in a long, intense, finish.
A second year of drought led to a mild winter, and February budbreak. The unusually early start, small crop, and warm summer, moved the harvest from October to September for the first time in fifty years. Tannins extracted quickly, and we pressed at five days to maintain balance. We selected and combined seventeen lots which were then aged in new and one year-old american oak for twenty months. This fine vintage has intensity, firm acid, and a complex mineral element. Enjoyable now, it will develop fully over the next decade.
In 1886 the first blocks of the Monte Bello vineyard were planted and construction on the winery begun. The first vintage was the 1892. In the early 1940s, the last of the old vineyard was abandoned; in the late forties a few blocks were replanted. Those cabernet vines—now over sixty-five years old—produced the first Ridge Monte Bello (1962) and subsequent vintages until 1974. By then other abandoned blocks had been replanted 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 became the Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, stressing the principal varietal and the Monte Bello estate vineyard as its source.
Rainfall: 20.5 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: Moderate summer and fall
Harvest Dates: 6 September – 8 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.6˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, and 20% sorted by Mistral equipment; 100% whole berries fermented on the native yeasts. Pressed at five days. Natural malolactic initiated in tank, finished in barrel with additional 18 weeks of lees contact.
Selection: Fifteen of twenty estate Cabernet parcels.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels; (48% new, 42% one year and 10% two years old).
Aging: Twenty 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; 0.34g/L calcium carbonate to moderate unusually high natural acidity in four of twenty distinct parcels; 1.1% water addition to nine of the twenty lots; minimum effective sulfur (30ppm at crush, 97 ppm during aging); a fining of 15 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.
Wine Spectator (October 2016): 92 Points. “Pure and refined, showing a sleek delivery of juicy blackberry, currant, toasty oak and dried herb flavors, with crushed rock minerality and a long, balanced finish that brings you back for another sip.” –JL
Vinous Media (July 2016): 94 Points. “Ridge’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is fabulous. Beams of tannin and acidity make a strong opening statement, but there is more than enough fruit to fill out the wine’s frame. This is an especially dark, virile Estate. Then again, that is 2013. Inky blue/purplish fruit, licorice, sage, exotic spices and lavender grace the exquisite finish. This is an absolutely delicious mountain Cabernet endowed with real pedigree and class. It is also arguably the single greatest value in California Cabernet Sauvignon.” -Antonio Galloni
California Grapevine (June 2016): 2013 Ridge, “Estate, Monte Bello Vineyard,” Santa Cruz Mountains ($55) – Medium-dark ruby; attractive, deep, cassis and blackberry fruit aroma with hints of dill and green olive; full body; rich, deep, textured, concentrated, currant and dark berry fruit flavors with mineral notes and hints of cola and tobacco; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended. 13.8% alcohol; 3,250 cases; blended with 20% Merlot, 3% PV, and 2% Cabernet Franc (CF); released April 2016. (Group Score: 16.5, 1/1/0; My Score: 17 [90/100], fourth place)
Average Rating: 92.0
No. of Tasting Notes: 133
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