1994 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #300221 95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated medium ruby to the rim. Multidimensional, intensely spicy nose combines black plum, black cherry, black raspberry, chocolate mint, coffee and cedar. Fat, thick, dense and impressively deep; penetrating vinosity gives the currently austere black cherry and menthol flavors superb clarity. Powerfully structured and exextremely unevolved. Finishes with superb persistence and toothcoating tannins that spread out over the palate. Will be a great Monte Bello.  (10/2000)

90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello was one of the most backward Cabernets in the March tasting. It almost defies inspection given its austere, extremely tannic, hard style. The opaque purple color is accompanied by a wine that smells and tastes ripe, rich, and brilliantly made, but it will require a minimum of 10-12 years of cellaring to shed enough tannin to become civilized. Although it should be a winner, it may not be as sure a bet as such vintages as 1991, 1992, and 1995. When young, this wine rarely reveals its full potential. Having said that, the last three vintages of the Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon (1993, 1994, and 1995) are immensely impressive, with perhaps the 1994 the least expansive - for now. (RP)  (4/1996)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Dark-colored, rich and earthy, with complex, mouthcoating currant, anise and minerally scents that pick up a tobacco and leather quality on the finish. Youthful and still firmly tannic, this is a well-balanced, inviting young Cabernet that should keep well for another decade. (JL)  (11/2004)

Jancis Robinson

 Seems quite closed at first. Not much on the nose but it is emerging gradually and becomes more and more fragrant. A little leathery, herbal but sweet. Then on the palate it explodes with freshness and fruit and such smooth tannins. They are very smooth but they are still very present. Unusual depth of tannin at this age. Mouthwatering length and still depth of fruit. There's a richness with that freshness that seems so typical of this wine. 18.5/20 points. (JH)  (12/2009)

Vinous

 The 1994 Monte Bello is now fully mature, or close to it. Sweet tobacco, worn-in leather, spices and dried cherries are all nicely delineated in the glass. The fully tertiary, mushroomy notes that are apparent, especially on the bouquet, suggest the 1994 has reached the end of its positive development. At the same time, there is plenty of fruit and density left. (AG)  (7/2014)

K&L Notes

73% Cabernet Sauvignon,15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot

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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.