88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
96 Points – Karen MacNeil, Decanter
95 Points + Cellar Selection – Wine Enthusiast
94+ Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
93 Points – Owen Bargreen, OwenBargreen.com
92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
92 Points – Wine & Spirits
Santa Cruz Mountains
Saturated purple color with black cherry, plum, black tea, cedar and sweet toasted oak on the nose. Bramble fruit, vanilla, and mint on the palate with well-coated tannins and a long finish. JO (6/21)
A cool, foggy spring delayed budbreak, but warm weather during bloom created ideal conditions for the vines to set a full crop. To maximize extraction, pumpovers were extended during fermentation. At assemblage, eighteen parcels were chosen for their alluring fruit and elegant tannins. After sixteen months of aging, the oak has integrated and the wine has begun to soften. It will continue to evolve and be most enjoyable over the next ten to fifteen 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: 50.4 inches (above normal)
Bloom: Mid June
Weather: Lots of rain soaked California throughout the winter. Spring rains continued until mid-May. Warm summer weather allowed the large crop to ripen evenly, resulting in an abundant, excellent harvest.
Harvest Dates: 27 September – 19 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4˚
TA: 6.70 g/L
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and sorted; 100% whole berries fermented on the native yeasts. Pressed at nine days. Natural malolactic initiated in tank, finished in barrel with additional ten weeks of lees contact.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (58% new, 8% one year-old, and 34% two years-old).
Aging: Sixteen 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 (35 ppm at crush, 133 ppm during aging); four egg whites per barrel for tannin reduction; depth filtration at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Decanter: 96 Points “True to the vineyard’s mountain site, up to 814m (2,670ft) in altitude, exposed to the cold Pacific, the wine has vivid cassis purity and a touch of green sage. 16 months in 58% new American oak may have rounded the edges of the wine, but none of that oak shows up in the wine’s flavour—exquisite structure and balance. Ridge’s Estate Cabernets come from old blocks in the Monte Bello Vineyard, but blocks that Paul Draper and John Olney feel tend to produce a wine that’s more accessible young than the blocks used for Ridge’s top wine, Monte Bello. Be that as it may, the Estate Cabernet blend comprised of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 1% Petite Verdot drinks like a sophisticated ageworthy wine.” -Karen MacNeil (November 2022)
Wine Enthusiast: 95 Points + Cellar Selection “There’s a prominent mineral streak of graphite, wet clay and lava rock on the nose of this bottling, which also includes 11% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Further investigation reveals aromas of blackberry, dried oregano, pepper and dried meat, and the palate falls in line, as leathery tannins frame baked berry, cocoa dust and roasted meat flavors. Drink now–2039.” -Matt Kettmann (June 2022)
JebDunnuck.com: 94+ Points “The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes from the estate Monte Bello Vineyard on the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains and is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. Hitting 13.8% alcohol, its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a brilliant perfume of blue fruits, scorched earth, tobacco leaf, and lead pencil. Beautifully balanced and medium to full-bodied, with building tannins, it’s a seamless Cabernet Sauvignon that has some up-front appeal given its balance and elegance yet will benefit from 2-5 years of bottle age and, I suspect, have 20+ years of overall longevity.” -Jeb Dunnuck (August 2022)
OwenBargreen.com: 93 Points “Entirely sourced from the famed Monte Bello Vineyard, the 2019 Ridge ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon is an outstanding value from this vintage that saw near ideal growing conditions. Graphite and wild blackberry compote mark the nose alongside shades of dark chocolate shavings and pipe tobacco. The palate is very fresh and refined with a soft mouthfeel and soft tannins. Ripe dark currants parade with espresso bean, and shades of chocolate cake on the palate. This is seriously good stuff to enjoy young but the 2019 ‘Estate’ has both the structure and stuffing to go fo another fifteen plus years. Drink 2022-2037” -Owen Bargreen (March 2022)
Vinous Media: 92 Points “The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate offers a hugely appealing mix of fruit richness married to the savory, structured style that is the Ridge signature. The 2019 is beautifully exotic, but natural without the volume of the Monte Bello. I imagine it will drink splendidly with minimal cellaring. Succulent red cherry, blood orange, mint, cinnamon and pomegranate.” -Antonio Galloni (May 2022)
Wine & Spirits: 92 Points “Selected from the same parcels that provide fruit for Monte Bello, Ridge’s Estate Cabernet offers more youthful accessibility. It’s a soft, sumptuous cherry-red cabernet, vibrant with fresh red-currant flavors and pleasingly ripe tannins. A wine with length and depth of flavor, this is ready to decant, or to cellar and enjoy over the next decade.” -J.G. (November 2022)
Fine Wine Review: 91 Points “This is the second wine of Ridge’s great Monte Bello. It is a tannic wine that needs some time to come around. There’s no lack of fruit here, though, and mint hints from the American oak, and importantly, the Monte Bello signature hot bricks and black olive. The wine is powerful and although the back label suggests that the wine is drinkable now and over the next ten years, I’d suggest either decanting an hour or so before serving or else giving it five years or so in the cellar and then drinking over the following 10-15 years.” -Claude Kolm (June 2022)
Average Rating: 92.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 69
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