2021 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2021 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Information

84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot

95 Points – Owen Bargreen, OwenBargreen.com
94 Points – Jim Gordon, JamesSuckling.com
92+ PointsRobert Parker Wine Advocate




Monte Bello


Santa Cruz Mountains

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Dark purple hues with black cherry, dark plum, black olive, soy, dried jerky, lilac, dried rose petals, cedar, juniper berry, and wintergreen mint. Fresh entry with building tannins that coat the entire palate. Gravelly, dusty, and mineral notes give way to layers of red and black fruits. Integrated oak with youthful tannins and acidity. Will prove to be very age-worthy. TG (12/23)

Vintage Notes

A dry winter, with only fourteen inches of rain, followed by a warm summer, created stress on the vines. Fortunately, this concentrated flavor but also required extra attention during fermentation not to over extract tannin. As a selection of lots primarily from Monte Bello’s Klein Ranch, our Estate Cabernet uses parcels that show the distinctive character of our soils and climate, but as a wine tends to mature somewhat earlier than our Monte Bello bottling. This pure, mountain cabernet is best cellared for two to three years and will improve over the following ten to fifteen. JO (6/23)


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.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 22.4 inches (below average)
Bloom: Mid June
Weather: A dry winter and spring stressed the vines, limiting yields and concentrating flavors. Harvest was early, accelerated by a heat wave in early September. For the first time in our 50+ year history we finished our Monte Bello harvest before Lytton Springs.


Harvest Dates: 1 – 24 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4˚
TA: 7.0 g/L
pH: 3.51
Fermentation: Grapes de-stemmed, and sorted; 100% whole berries fermented on the native yeasts.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (50% new and 50% one year old).
Aging: Nineteen months in barrel

Hand-harvested, estate-grown grapes; destemmed and sorted; fermented on indigenous yeast; calcium carbonate; full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush,158 ppm during aging). In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Owen Bargreen.com: 95 Points “This 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Monte Bello Vineyard and combines 84% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder Merlot. Stored in mainly American oak with coconut and black currants that combine with mocha, tar and beautiful dark florals. The palate is soft and refined with beautiful elegance. Deep and rich, with wonderful structure and a generous core of saline drenched dark fruits, pipe tobacco and escrows grounds, this is a glorious effort that will drink well for another fifteen plus years. Drink 2024-2040.” – Owen Bargreen (May 2024)

JamesSuckling.com: 94 Points “Graphite, tobacco, grilled plums, black olives and black cherries are held firmly by velvety tannins on a medium body at 13.3% alcohol. Tense, concentrated, linear and acid-driven while deep in black fruit and subtle oak accents. Grapes grown on Ridge’s Monte Bello property at lower elevations on the slopes. Best after 2029.” -Jim Gordon (May 2024)

Robert Parker Wine Advocate: 92+ Points “Blended with 16% Merlot and bottled at 13.3% alcohol, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is immediately layered and expressive on the nose. Aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, cocoa nibs and charred wood lead to a vibrant, satiny palate that is fresh and light on its feet. The finish combines juicy, muddled berry flavors with tense, chocolaty tannins of good length. This is delicious already but should improve for the next decade.” -Matthew Luczy (April 2024)

Food Pairings

See all food pairing recipes we have created specifically for this wine.

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