2002 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
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.
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.
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)
Strong cassis for once. Sweet ink. Neat, bright fruited and super clean. Great balance. 18/20 points.
The blend for the 2002 Monte Bello is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot.