2011 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1171572 96 points 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.  (4/2015)

93-95 points 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)  (8/2012)

94 points Vinous

 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)  (7/2015)

93 points James Suckling

 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)  (1/2015)

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Price: $149.99
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By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/10/2014 | Send Email
Tear up your vintage chart! Paul Draper and the team at Ridge have made a classic Monte Bello in 2011. This huge Cabernet blend has a great mocha and black currant nose, and a packed, leathery, dense feel in the mouth. If you are looking for something to drink standing up in the kitchen, THIS IS NOT IT. If you are looking for a great bottle for the future, YOU FOUND IT!
Drink from 2021 to 2041

Additional Information:


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 (%): 13.5