x
  • Country ranking ?

    466
  • Producer ranking ?

    33
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    Now

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The Story

In 1886, high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the first Monte Bello vineyards were planted, and winery construction begun. 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 30s, but by the 1940s 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 1960s were considered for inclusion. Since then, the historic vineyards on the ridge have gradually been replanted.

The Monte Bello (originally Monte Bello Cabernet; until 1975, 100% cabernet) is the wine that introduced Ridge to the world, and the world to Ridge. Today it is a blend of bordeaux varietals in which cabernet sauvignon still predominates. Exhaustive tasting of test blends during assemblage determines how much — if any — merlot, petit verdot, or cabernet franc will be included in the finished wine. Almost every vintage (an unbroken chain from '62 on) has something substantive to recommend it. Each decade has its high points, but year after year Monte Bello proves to be a consistently outstanding wine. There's structure, there's complexity, there's balance. And it develops for a long, long time. 

The vineyards are grown organically.
 

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

We went from one Napa Valley legend to another, that other being the 1968 Ridge Monte Bello.  I suffered through a touch of glass issues but moved forward to find an extraordinary wine that had a lot of fresh field to it along with that super sexy Cali Cab fruit.  It was rich and grapy with smoky coffee flavors.  Superbly elegant, its great smoke and great fruit carried it to outstanding status (96). 

  • 96p

First bottle corked. Quite tough still but from another era. Lots of acidity. An historic liquid rather than a great pleasure. Sweet and fresh.

  • 86p
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Information

Origin

Cupertino, Santa Cruz

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