x
  • Country ranking ?

    368
  • Producer ranking ?

    24
  • Decanting time

    -
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Antipasti

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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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.

Ridge wine is made with an emphasis on quality and naturalness that is rarely attempted. Our grapes are grown in select vineyards (usually identified on the label), where they are left to ripen to peak maturity, often at some loss of quantity. We let the wine settle and age in small barrels, with only rare cellar treatment other than racking. Varieties are not blended unless so indicated on the label. Near Black Mountain on Monte Bello Ridge, our main vineyard is 10 miles south of Palo Alto, 15 miles inland from the ocean, and over 2000 feet in elevation.

 

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Wine Information

BLEND: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

ALC: 13.5%

VINTAGE 1970 REPORT: The grapes produced on Monte Bello Ridge in 1970 were in the tradition of the big years (e.g. ’64, ’68) of the last decade. By completing a malolactic fermentation immediately following the harvest and by effecting a racking schedule along Bordeaux lines, we produced a wine that has Monte Bello’s richness and depth yet is softer in style. It could be ready to try in two years, though it will continue to develop and show its vigor some twenty years hence.

 

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Tasting note

ending

Medium, Round and Pure

taste

Average in Acidity, Balanced, Complex, Developing, Medium-bodied, Round, Perfumed and Refined

Verdict

Transparent and nice but not special

Written Notes

Perhaps a bit of palate fatigue was setting in, as I have great memories of 1970 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon, but this bottle wasn’t one of them. Pekka found it ‘a bit peculiar, but I like it.’ There was glue and paint on top of cedar and anise aromas, with flavors of hot earth and minerals (92).
  • 92p

Paul Draper’s first solo vintage and a famous wine. This seemed miraculously youthful and concentrated – especially next to the 1978. Very deep ruby. Lots of development on the nose. One whiff of it brought back an era of California Cabernet when other producers' wines had this sort of balance and sophistication. Thick then a little dusty and dry on the finish. Complete. Very straight backed – in fact rather 1970-bordeaux like. Pure, cassis. This has lasted amazingly, (Spurrier chose the more elegant 1971 for the Judgment of Paris, to Draper's regret.) All of the vines for this would have been planted in the 1940s. A little more severe than the 1978. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Cupertino, Santa Cruz

Grapes

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Drinking temperature

16-18C

Other wines from this producer

Buchignani Ranch Zinfandel

Estate Chardonnay

Estate Merlot

Fiddletown Zinfandel

Hearts Desire Selection Zinfandel

Lytton Springs Zinfandel

Monte Bello Merlot

Pagani Ranch Zinfandel

Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Ridge Geyserville

Ridge Mataro Bridgehead

Ridge Monte Bello

Ridge Monte Bello Chardonnay

Ridge York Creek Zinfandel

Syrah Lytton Estate

Zinfandel Ponzo Vineyard

Highlights

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