75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
Santa Cruz Mountains
Saturated purple in color. Aromas of cassis, blueberry, cola, licorice, and sweet oak. Ripe blackberry fruit entry, full bodied, rich textures, exotic spice roasted coffee, and toasted oak aftertaste. Complex, long, sensuous finish. EB (1/20)
Drought-breaking winter storms replenished ground-water reserves at Monte Bello. Warm summer weather ripened grapes for an October harvest. Significant tannins showed in the earliest fermentations so we reduced pumpovers to avoid over-extraction. For this wine we blended the lots showing softer tannins and great fruit intensity. Though approachable now, it will continue to develop greater complexity over the next ten years.
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: 44.2 inches (above normal)
Weather: A wet winter provided well-above normal rainfall. A cool spring, affected fruit set but warm spells in summer pushed vines along. Labor Day heat wave ripened the grapes nicely.
Harvest Dates: 10 October
Grapes: Average Brix 26.7˚
TA: 7.51 g/L
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed, and sorted; 100% whole berries fermented on the native yeasts. Pressed at eight days. Natural malolactic initiated in tank, finished in barrel with additional 13 weeks of lees contact.
Selection: Twenty of twenty estate parcels.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels; (48% new, 31% one year-old, 21% two years-old).
Aging: Twenty months in barrel
Hand-harvested, estate-grown grapes; destemmed and sorted; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur (35ppm at crush, 109 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 90.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 6
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