x
  • Country ranking ?

    191
  • Producer ranking ?

    4
  • Decanting time

    -
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Rabbit rillette & cold smoked deer

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 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: 12.9%

VINTAGE 1974 REPORT: In the superb harvest of 1974, both the seven and the thirty-year-old vines matured fully and gave us a wine with the richness and complexity of a great vintage. The secondary fermentation was complete by that December and the wine was racked to small oak cooperage. This intense Cabernet will be showing considerable depth by next fall, but should have five to ten years of bottle age to develop fully.

 

PRESS: 

The Wine Advocate (May 2018): 100 Points. “The 1974 Monte Bello is a spectacular wine that’s in its prime today, soaring from the glass with an exuberant bouquet of ripe cherries, plums, cigar box, black truffle and petroleum jelly. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and powerful, with a dramatically lavish attack, considerable mid-palate amplitude and a deep core of ripe, succulent fruit framed by melting tannins and juicy acids. There’s still some chalky grip on the long, savory finish, and I’d expect this to drink well for another decade or two. 1974 was a great vintage for California Cabernet Sauvignon, and Ridge’s Monte Bello is right up there with the likes of Heitz’s Martha’s Vineyard and Phelps’s Insignia as one of the year’s qualitative pinnacles.” – William Kelley

Wine Spectator (June 2019): 98 Points. “1974 Monte Bello has a light sous bois note leading off, but it shows remarkable fullness and depth as it airs in the glass, with mulled blood orange and black cherry fruit showing a still-fresh and pure profile. The long and beguiling finish lets embers of black tea, chalk and sage brush play through deftly. It’s very long, shows no signs of being tired (while it is clearly fully mature) and stands as a testament to this legendary vintage.” – James Molesworth

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Tasting note

color

Medium, Ruby red and Dark

ending

Long, Extensive and Lingering

flavors

Blackcurrant, Toasty and Meaty

nose

Intense, Seductive and Generous

recommend

Yes

taste

High alcohol content, Medium tannin, Balanced, Well-structured, Complex, Full-bodied, Fruity and Silky tannins

Verdict

Well-rounded and Impressive

Written Notes

This is still not ready! But the underlying beauty is spellbinding. This is a landmark wine, made entirely from the original 1940 plantings. Aromatic blackcurrants and violets prance on the bouquet. On the palate, cherries and raspberries consort amidst the silky texture and gorgeously cushioning tannins. Tart plums and cassis next. Superb acidity and tension, red berries abound on the vigorous finish. Controlled opulence is the anthem, and when a tad more extroversion hits, this will be heading towards the celestial. 97 Points+

  • 97p
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Information

Origin

Cupertino, Santa Cruz

Grapes

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Drinking temperature

17-18C

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

Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

Syrah Lytton Estate

Zinfandel Ponzo Vineyard

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