2002 Ridge "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1018545 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2002 Monte Bello Proprietary Red is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot. It tastes as if it hasn’t changed since I first sampled it in late 2003 and then again in bottle two years later. The color is healthy ruby/purple, and the wine displays some dusty, oaky, vanillin notes that jump out of the glass along with a touch of white chocolate as well as red and black currants and hints of cedar and forest floor. Extremely young and full-bodied, with some wood char still present, it is unevolved and tastes like it could be a barrel sample, except that it has been in bottle for nearly ten years! This is a blockbuster Ridge Monte Bello that still needs a minimum of another 10 years of bottle-age and should keep for 50+ years. Only for the young and patient! As most passionate amateurs of California wine know, this is one of the longest-lived red wines produced in California. Having reviewed close to 40 vintages of their flagship wine, the mostly Cabernet Sauvignon blend from their Monte Bello vineyards, I can only concur that this wine ages as well as a great first-growth from Bordeaux. It can often need a good 20 years minimum before it sheds its overlay of wood and tannin.  (6/2012)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep, full ruby. Explosively perfumed nose combines black raspberry, violet and dark chocolate. Wonderfully layered and penetrating, with expressive flavors of raspberry, currant, bitter chocolate, spices and tobacco. Still an infant, but already offers a rare combination of sweetness and inner-mouth energy. Finishes very fresh and very long, with big, dusty tannins and great lift. This is high in alcohol for Ridge at 13.3%, but a full degree or more lower than virtually any other collectible California Cabernet from this vintage.  (8/2004)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Savory, showing vitality and complexity. Offers dried earth and dried currant flavors, with touches of mineral, tar and cedar. Despite firm, drying tannins, there's a nice push of elegant, Bordeaux-like fruit coming through. Has peaked, but could go a long way. (Web-2012)

Jancis Robinson

 Strong cassis for once. Sweet ink. Neat, bright fruited and super clean. Great balance. 18/20 points.  (11/2015)

K&L Notes

The blend for the 2002 Monte Bello is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot.

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Price: $149.99
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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.

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.


- 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 (%): 13.3