2020 Monte Bello

2020 Monte Bello

Wine Information

84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Organically Grown

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Monte Bello


Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Opaque ruby color with ripe cassis, plum and red currant fruit, toasty oak, vanilla, fennel, juniper berry and bay laurel. Well-integrated velvety tannins, full mid-palate, firm acid, and a long, sumptuous finish. JO (3/21)

Vintage Notes

Mild temperatures in March prompted an early bloom that coincided with the spring rains. This resulted in a smaller crop that, accompanied by more summer fog than usual, allowed for slow, steady ripening into September. After assembling thirty-six of fifty-eight lots, the wine was returned to barrel for a further twelve months. As a classic Monte Bello, it will benefit from a decade of aging and develop over another twenty years. JO (5/22)


In 1886, high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the first Monte Bello vineyards were planted and winery construction began. A first vintage from the young vines followed in 1892. During Prohibition (1920-1933), the vineyard was not fully maintained; some vines survived into the late 30’s, but by the 1940’s they were effectively abandoned. Eight acres of cabernet sauvignon were replanted in 1949. These were the source of the first Ridge Monte Bello (1962) and subsequent vintages until 1974 when younger blocks replanted in the 1960’s were considered for inclusion. Since then, the historic vineyards on the ridge have gradually been replanted.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 22.4 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Mid June
Weather: Average rains in December led to dry weather in January and February. A very wet March and April helped the vines during the growing season. Unsettled weather in June saw several heat spikes in between cool spells. The rest of the summer was mild until the middle of August, when hot temperatures, which continued into early September, expedited ripeness.


Harvest Dates: 15 September – 9 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4˚
TA: 7.24 g/L
pH: 3.47
Fermentation: Grapes de-stemmed, 100% whole berry fermentation. Fermented on the native yeasts. Natural malolactic.
Selection:: Thirty-six Monte Bello parcels
Barrels: 95% air-dried American oak, 5% French oak (100% new)
Aging: Twenty months in barrel

Hand-harvested; estate grown Monte Bello Vineyard grapes, organically farmed, de-stemmed and sorted; fermented on the native yeasts; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 129 ppm during aging); depth filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


JancisRobinson.com: 17++ “Deep lustrous crimson. Very complex balsam, sage and ripe Cabernet, including blackcurrant leaf, on the nose. Extremely subtle and layered. Quite marked acidity on palate entry and then supple tannins enclose the fruit. Definitely worth stashing away for many a long year but nowhere near ready. If it has a fault, it’s that it lacks a very long finish.” -Jancis Robinson (March 2024)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 92.5

No. of Tasting Notes: 32

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