2001 Ridge "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A resoundingly great effort from this iconic producer, Ridge’s 2001 is a spectacular, still young but promising wine. Interestingly, 60% of the production from the winery’s 108 acre Monte Bello Vineyard made it into the 2001’s final blend (their 40th anniversary, by the way). The unusual blend is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, a whopping 36% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot. It also carries 14.2% alcohol, which is high for this estate. On the back label, the conservative Paul Draper writes that “5-8 years of bottle age will bring generous rewards, and 20 years will bring full maturity.” At age 10, it is still an infant in terms of development, and I would not be surprised to see this 2001 last 40 years. A dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by extravagant, generous aromas of pen ink, lead pencil shavings, spice box and black fruits. The wine is full-bodied and silky textured, but secondary nuances have not yet begun to develop as it is still very primary, tasting more like a 3-4 year old Monte Bello than one that is ten years of age. Nevertheless, it reveals spectacular concentration, a voluptuous texture, a rare opulence for a Ridge Monte Bello, and an incredible finish. The upside is enormous and this cuvee may prove somewhat atypical due to the huge percentage of Merlot in the final blend and the higher than normal alcohol. But make no mistake about this Monte Bello – it is a great wine. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040. (RP)
What a pleasure it is to taste the 2001 Monte Bello. A wine that is just beginning to enter the early part of its plateau of maturity, the 2001 is magnificently complete. The flavors remain quite fresh, but there is plenty of aromatic complexity in the glass. Sweet dark cherry, plum, spice and licorice meld into the super-expressive finish. At nearly fourteen years of age, the 2001 is still remarkably young and intense. Readers who own the 2001 are in for a real treat, to say the least. Incidentally, this is the only vintage of Monte Bello to top 14% in alcohol. Opulence and classicism can indeed coexist, as the 2001 makes it abundantly clear. (AG)
*Cellar Selection* Without doubt this is a wine to cellar. It’s massive in flavor, with the purist blackcurrant and cassis fruit you can imagine, and the huge plaster of sweet oak is perfectly balanced. Then there are the tannins. They’re fine and complex, but gritty. There’s an astringency throughout that a great steak will cut through, but it would be infanticide to open this before, say, 2010. Should improve through 2020 and beyond.
Wine & Spirits
No tasting note given.
Gorgeous. Dense, rich and concentrated, with a tight core of blackberry and wild berry with floral and berry jam touches. Tight yet expressive, softening ever so slightly and ending with a persistent push of mineral and berry. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. (Web-2011)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright medium ruby. Highly complex aromas of currant, lead pencil, tobacco and chocolate. Rich, lush and deep, with full-blown, superripe flavors of cassis, black raspberry and chocolate. This has considerably more Merlot than the 2002 (36%), and it shows it in its extravagantly creamy texture. Finishes with sweet tannins and outstanding length. I don't recall ever having tasted a Monte Bello as close to overripe as this one. But a compelling wine that's utterly voluptuous drinking already.