2002 Ridge Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Red Blend

SKU #1015934 Jancis Robinson

 Sweeter and more plummy fruit. Seems quite different from the 2006. Like very fresh damsons and some cassis. Rich, dense, velvety black fruit. A touch of black olive or tar and mineral. So accomplished and seemingly effortless even though there's structure and fresh fruit and very good acidity. Textbook without shouting about it. With time: more coffee and peppery spice. Quite a grip on the finish but I'm happy to be gripped like this!  (12/2009)

Wine Enthusiast

 Medium bright ruby. Flamboyant aromas of stewed currant, graphite and eucalyptus. Fat, sweet and accessible, with creamy flavors of bitter cherry, mint and sweet American oak. Conveys a slight overripe/underripe quality, but the wine's acids are fairly harmonious and there's plenty of weight on the palate. Finishes with slightly dry tannins.  (7/2005)

K&L Notes

The justly famous Monte Bello estate vineyard is divided—by soil, exposure, and point of ripening—into thirty-six parcels that are harvested and fermented separately. The oldest were planted 54 years ago; average vine age is 26 years. Historically, each parcel produces a particular style, varying from the structured, long-lived wines set aside for the Monte Bello to the full, rich wines that make up the Home Ranch, and the well-defined, more approachable ones that go into the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 2002 Santa Cruz Mountains contains eight of the parcels. In the last phase of assemblage, a year after vintage, additional merlot was added for structural elegance. To soften tannins, barrel aging was extended to two full years in air-dried American oak, 40% new, 45% one and two years old, and 15% three and four years old. This appealing wine is redolent of deep, black fruit. It is enjoyable now, but will soften and develop further complexity over five to ten years of bottle age. 50% cabernet sauvignon, 48% merlot, 2% petit verdot.

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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.
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