2010 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (375ml)
The 2010 Monte Bello is just as stunning as it has always been. Today, the 2010 appears to be entering a closed phase, so it is best left alone for at least another 5-10 years, perhaps longer. The signatures are super-ripe, exotic fruit, sweet aromatics and firm tannins, all of which ensure the 2010 will be utterly magnificent in a few decades. The growing season was characterized by mostly cold weather, with an unexpectedly intense heat spike in mid-October that gave the fruit a final push. One of the things that makes this vintage so compelling is the interplay of firm structural elements from the cold year and a high level of ripeness that was achieved late. In my view, the 2010 is one of the most thrilling recent Monte Bellos, however it won't be ready to drink for a number of years and it won't peak for quite some time beyond that. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Inky ruby. Intense cherry, blackcurrant, licorice, pipe tobacco and cedary oak aromas show superb clarity and energy. Sweet, penetrating cherry-cola and bitter chocolate flavors are deeply concentrated but lively, picking up woodsmoke, floral pastille and allspice nuances with air. Smooth, harmonious tannins build slowly on the finish and meld seamlessly with the wine's vivacious fruit. Almost painfully young, this wine demands--and will reward--aging. (JR)
Wine & Spirits
Eric Baugher and Paul Draper select this wine from 58 acres at Monte Bello, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon (74 percent in 2010), with Merlot (20 percent), Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. They shape the wine through careful sorting of the grapes, fermenting without added yeast, pressing to new American oak barrels after seven days. The wine then ages two stories down in the 19th-century limestone cellar carved out of the ridge 2,600 feet above the Pacific. The vines, rooted in that same limestone, provide a massive wine, substantial in its structure, generous in its vibrant fruit flavors, gracious in its tannins. While fruit is at the center of the wine, it’s savory and sophisticated rather than overtly sweet. The flavors touch on small berries—black currants, wild blueberries—and also hint at herbs (tarragon, tobacco). This is a terrific vintage of Monte Bello: It feels healthy and sound, with tension and drive that will sustain it for decades in the cellar.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Ridge's flagship offering, the 2010 Monte Bello, composed of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc (13.2% alcohol), was harvested in October and yields were under two tons of fruit per acre. Boasting a deeper ruby/purple color than the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, it exhibits attractive aromas of creme de cassis, dark berries, earth and spice. Firm, rich, structured and broodingly backward, it needs at least 7-8 years of bottle age, and should keep for three decades. Certainly outstanding, although not one of Ridge's greatest Monte Bellos, time will favor its further development. (RP)
Bordeaux-like in terms of structure, austerity and taut flavor profile, this is well done, offering a mix of dried berry, herb, cherry, road tar, smoke and graphite notes, ending with licorice-laced tannins. (JL, Web—2014)
The 2010 vintage was notably cool, making this legendary cool-climate Cab-dominated blend--it also includes 20% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cab Franc--incredibly sophisticated, low in alcohol and promising of a very long future. In his 2011 review, Antonio Galloni wrote: "The 2010 Monte Bello is the product of a freakish year that included the coolest summer in 50 years followed by a heat wave in late August and summer-like weather in October. The 2010 is a massive, explosive Monte Bello endowed with layers of vibrant fruit, exquisite grace and fabulous balance. It is a big, textured wine just in its early stages, but I will not be surprised if one day it surpasses both the 2008 and 2009. I especially like the way the wine floats across the palate with exceptional elegance and breathtaking finesse. Wow! In 2010 the blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040."