100% Cabernet Franc – Organically Grown
96 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
*This wine is available to Monte Bello Collector members only. Learn more about our Monte Bello Collector membership. 3 bottle limit.
Santa Cruz Mountains
Dark garnet red color. Perfumed cherry fruit aromas, appealing toasted oak, savory herbs, and cedar. Red berry fruit entry, elegant tannins, and balanced acid. Wonderful complexity in a long finish. EB (3/19)
The additional acreage of cabernet franc, located at the historic Rousten vineyard on Monte Bello, was planted by Ridge in 2008. Three different selections were chosen. Over the years, while they all made great wine, the most outstanding has been the northern Italian selection. We found those barrels were ideal for this year’s Historic Vineyard Series. Appealing now, this excellent wine will be at its best within fifteen years.
Charles Rousten purchased seventy-five acres on Monte Bello in 1903. He planted vines and built a winery, BW (Bonded Winery) 180. During Prohibition, he converted most of the vines to prune orchards, but kept about eight acres of vineyard. After repeal, he produced a small quantity of wine until his death in 1941, when his son, Charlie, inherited the property. Charlie operated the winery until sometime in the 1950s, when—fed up with the increasing paperwork demanded by the federal authorities—he famously refused to pay the federal excise taxes on his wine. He dumped all the wine on the ground in front of a federal agent, and threw him off the property. He tore out the remaining vines, closed the winery, and focused on the orchards, cattle, and hay. When Charlie died in 1990, he left his land to Lois Ortmann who developed a successful boarding operation for horses. In 2007 Lois signed a long-term lease with Ridge on thirty-seven acres and vines were re-planted starting in 2008. This cabernet franc is our third release from the ranch.
Rainfall: 21.9 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: A very wet December and January helped ease the drought. Cool weather in April reduced our lower elevation crops a bit. Warm spells in late June and late July helped push the vines along.
Harvest Date: 28 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.7˚
Fermentation: 100% de-stemmed & whole berry fermentation on native yeasts. 100% Mistral berry sorted. Pressed at nine days. Natural malolactic.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (60% new, 40% one year old)
Aging: Eighteen months in barrel
Hand-harvested, estate-grown grapes; destemmed and whole-berry fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 92 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.
The Wine Advocate: 96 Points “The Rousten Cabernet Franc is part of the Historic Vineyard Series; Ridge holds back small amounts of wine destined for Monte Bello to be bottled on its own. Eric Baugher says, ‘We’ll hold out a few barrels, like we did with this Cabernet Franc, for our customers and collectors who want to know what the pure expression of the Monte Bello Cabernet Franc is like.’ The nose is full of personality: warm mint chocolate, black and red cherries and currants, dried herbs and fried sage, charcuterie, peppercorn and cigar ash with nuances of pencil shavings, dried leaves and flowers and dusty earth. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the palate with savory, perfumed layers, fleshing out beautifully in the mouth. It has a firm frame of powdery tannins and great juicy acidity, finishing very long and very layered.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)
Vinous Media (August 2018): (90-93 Points). “The 2016 Cabernet Franc Rouston Ranch is a powerful wine that is going to need time to be at its best. There is plenty of character in the glass, but ultimately mountain structure dominates over truer varietal notes, at least at this stage. The 2016 is still in barrel, so it will be interesting to see where things end up.” – Antonio Galloni
Average Rating: 92.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 8
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