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97 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
9 Barrels Produced
Monte Bello Vineyard
Yields: 4.8 tons from 2.9 acres
Santa Cruz Mountains
Opaque purple color; restrained nose but opens up to show some mountain fruit, tobacco, olive, iron, violets, and licorice. Penetrating red fruit on entry, firm acid, youthful-chalky tannins, complex mountain chaparral herbal character, eucalyptus-menthol, exotic spice, and toasted oak in a long finish. EB (7/16)
The vines on this appropriately-named terrain are forty-two years old; they produce the highest quality of any on the Monte Bello vineyard. A mild winter in 2013 prompted an early harvest. Though fully ripe, the grapes had unusually high acidity. In the Monte Bello assemblage, we decided to bottle this distinctive parcel separately. This fine wine shows intense mountain fruit, firm acid, and the mineral character of limestone sub-soils. It will continue to develop over the next fifteen to twenty years.
In 1903, the Torre family homesteaded the land which comprises our middle vineyard (2300’). They planted vines and built a small winery, but once Prohibition was enacted in 1920, the vineyards were abandoned and the property passed through several owners. William Short acquired the acreage in the 1940s, re-planted cabernet on a number of the old parcels and for the first time, a few acres of chardonnay as well. He sold to the Ridge founding partners in 1959. They made a half-barrel of Monte Bello Cabernet that year. Its exceptional quality convinced them to restore the Torre winery, and to make wine. This wine is a special bottling from two historic cabernet vineyard parcels located on Monte Bello Estate’s Torre Ranch; Steep Terraces and West Horseshoe, and this wine is appropriately-named for its terrain. This excellent cabernet sauvignon will develop its full complexity over the next fifteen to twenty years.
Rainfall: 20.5 inches (below average)
Weather: Moderate summer and fall, finishing early
Harvest Dates: 13 September
Grapes: Average brix 23.3˚
Fermentation: Destemmed and whole berry; 100% automated berry sorted; floating cap, daily pump-overs; natural primary and natural secondary (malolactic). Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% new air-dried american oak.
Aging: 21 months in barrel
Hand harvested, estate-grown organic grapes, destemmed whole berry fermented on the native yeasts; 1.42 g/l calcium carbonate added during primary fermentation; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (30 ppm initially at crush, 90 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Vinous Media (July 2016) 97 Points. The 2013 Monte Bello Steep Terraces is just as magnificent from bottle as it was from barrel. Unctuous and deep on the palate, the Steep Terraces boasts magnificent intensity. Even with all of its richness, the Steep Terraces possesses considerable freshness, which gives the flavors a distinctly red-fruit leaning profile. Raspberry jam, wild flowers, mint and pomegranate are fused into a long, sweet finish. The Steep Terraces parcel, a core Monte Bello component, was first planted in 1972. – Antonio Galloni