2010 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)

SKU #1138649 97 points Antonio Galloni

 Firm yet polished tannins provide the backbone for the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello. As impressive as it has always been, the 2010 is a structured, powerful wine that is likely to require considerable bottle age to show the full breadth of its pedigree. Black cherry, plum, cassis and graphite notes meld into the intense, mineral-infused finish. Dramatic and towering in style. The late harvest stretched into early November, resulting in a Monte Bello with a decidedly dark profile. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Personally, I can't wait to own the 2010.  (7/ 2013)

96 points 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.  (12/ 2013)

96 points 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.  (12/ 2013)

91 points 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. 91+ (RP)  (8/ 2012)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 This year's version of what has become one of California's iconic Cabernets is introduced in the nose by a fine combination of juicy young fruit, black olives and undisguised oaky sweetness, and its mannerly, multi-layered flavors follow suit. It is surprisingly supple for a wine of its age, and its gentle tannins firm without being intrusive, but a distracting, vaguely toothpicky pucker emerges at the end and warns against hasty drinking. Allow for at least five years of patience, and, given its pedigree, we would not be surprised if it continues to improve for a decade or more.  (12/ 2013)

Wine Spectator

 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. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. (Web-2014)

K&L Notes

The 2010 vintage was notably cool, making this legendary cool-climate Cabernet-based blend incredibly sophisticated, low in alcohol and promising of a very long future. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc.

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5