1985 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900300 95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium-deep, amber-edged red. Superripe aromas of blackcurrant, plum, cedar, game and truffle; at once less complex and less evolved than the '84. Large-scaled, dense and fat; bigger and broader than the '84, with a compelling gamey sweetness. Rather massive in the context of Monte Bello, and developing slowly. Finishes very long, with big but fine tannins that spread out to suffuse the palate. (ST)  (10/2000)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Along with the Dunn Howell Mountain and Chateau Montelena 1985s, Ridge's Monte Bello is among the most backward wines of the vintage, but it is so promising. I do not intend to touch another bottle before 2005 - it is still that youthful and closed. It offers a good education in what great young wine is all about. The beautiful ruby/purple color exhibits no signs of age. The sweet nose of cassis fruit, lead pencil, flowers, and minerals is followed by a full-bodied, opulent wine with a boatload of tannin. This huge, massive yet well-delineated and focused wine should prove to be uncommonly long-lived. (RP)  (4/1995)

Jancis Robinson

 Glorious, beautifully balanced claret that was not put to shame at all by being served alongside Ch Lafleur 1982. Indeed it had similar build. What a magical wine is Monte Bello. A sweet start but nothing overblown. Just a little cool, fresh...minerally, iodine nose. Light o medium body. Very very clean. (18.5/20 points)  (2/2014)

K&L Notes

Highly ecommended in a blind tasting of 11 vintages of Monte Bello, by Fred Swan, NorCalWine.com: "Medium-intensity garnet with a pale rim and sediment. Rich fruit, cedar and pencil lead on the nose. This wine approaches full body with chewy, chalky tannins and a very long finish. Flavors include chocolate, herb and more cedar. Very Highly Recommended." (6/2011) And 92 points from Wine Advocate's Neal Martin: "This is an impressive mid-80's Monte Bello. A lovely rich, damson, strawberry and vanilla pod nose. The palate is very smooth, cohesive, and slightly meaty with thick wedges of raspberry and wild-berried fruit on the mid-palate. Full-bodied and assertive, its charms become more apparent the longer it remains in your glass. Drinking now. Tasted January 2006." (Wine Journal, eRobertParker.com, 5/2009)

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Price: $269.99
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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.