2011 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine & Spirits
The cool 2011 season turned out a pristine vintage of Monte Bello, made from Cabernet (88 percent) grown on a limestone-inflected ridge high above Silicon Valley, blended with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The team at Ridge let the fruit recover for two weeks following an early October storm before picking, and were more aggressive in their extraction than normal, drawing as much color and structure as possible from the delicate fruit. The aromas revolve around oak at first—anise, wood smoke, cedar bark and cinnamon—but the wood’s contribution is fine and integrated, shading gradually toward bright fruit as the finish lengthens with floral aromas and the tang of tiny, concentrated black currants. It’s even better with a day of air, as the tannins turn to velvet, allowing red-fruited acidity to take the lead and brighten the wine’s savory, pungent sous bois tones of wet wood and forest mushrooms. Supremely elegant and polished, it’s a wine to put away and forget about for the next ten years or so. Its transparency it will suit game birds as much as beef.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Monte Bello (87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc) emerges from the glass with tobacco, grilled herbs, smoke, incense and plums melding together in this soft, beautifully textured Monte Bello. The 2011 is a wine of exceptional textural finesse. The 100% new oak is totally integrated. In 2011, Ridge used a total of 18 of a possible 24 lots for the final blend. The presence of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon is the highest since the 1980s. I expect the 2011 to be a relatively early drinking Monte Bello, but time will be the judge. (AG)
Ridge's 2011 Monte Bello shows beautifully, even next to some of the more important vintages that are part of this vertical. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, spices and graphite form an attractive core of flavors and textures. The 2011 is a bit slender and likely to mature earlier than some of the more structured vintages, but that only contributes to its near and medium-term accessibility. Hints of sage, lavender and black fruits add the final shades of nuance. This is one of the better showings of the 2011 from bottle. (AG)
A clear expression of taut cabernet, this has a wealth of red currant like fruit, cassis and gently spiced oak with composed supple and ripe tannins, already very complete. The oak is pretty strident; overall a bold style. (NS)