2013 Ridge "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)
The 2013 Monte Bello is utterly spellbinding in its beauty. Finely sculpted and chiseled, with super-expressive aromatics and searing tannins, the 2013 is shaping up to be a modern-day classic. The 2013 is remarkably pure and vibrant for such a big wine. It will be years before the 2013 is close to being ready to drink. Even so, it is magnificent today. Where will the 2013 end up? The future seems limitless for now. Quite simply, the 2013 is a must-have wine. In 2013, Monte Bello is very heavy in Cabernet Sauvignon, partly because Merlot suffered in the drought-like conditions. The 2013 has already begun to shut down in bottle. Readers need to be in for the long haul. (AG)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted out of bottle, the 2013 Monte Bello is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and just 5% of Merlot (Merlot struggled in 2013 due to the drought). Surprisingly, given the higher Cabernet content, it's more voluptuous and layered than the '12, and has awesome concentration and depth on the palate to go with classic creme de cassis, vanilla bean and violets. Reminding winemaker Eric Baugher of the 1985 (sorry, before my wine drinking time), I suspect this beautifully pure, elegant and seamless beauty will drink nicely in 3-4 years, and have upwards of three decades of overall longevity. (JD)
*Two Stars* High marks to Ridge for continuing to march to its own drummer and proving that it can make Cabernet Sauvignon in a deep yet refined, light and focused style. Its fruit is pure and eschews high ripeness in exchange for a tight, continuous and well-bred line at every stop from first aromas to its lengthy, still-developing finish. Its tannins add to the notion that this is not a wine for now but one geared to the future, and we would suggest a wait of five to eight years at the very least.
Cask sample. Very Cabernet nose, again with spice – great polish and depth. Firm acidity and much more obvious tannins than the 2014. 18/20 points (JR)