1991 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #901019 97 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Full, youthful red-ruby color. Knockout nose of cassis, maple syrup, game, truffle and spicy oak; sappy and highly complex. Powerful, primary dark berry flavors exude a sweet gamey quality. Dense but sharply delineated. Great flavor intensity without the slightest suggestion of heaviness. Still a baby but already amazingly harmonious wine. Extremely long finish features very fine, suave tannins. A world-class cabernet, certainly among the top dozen made in California during the last 20 years.  (10/2000)

97 points Vinous

 The 1991 Monte Bello is utterly captivating. Sweet tobacco, cedar, mint, dried flowers and herbs are some of the many notes the open up in the wine's striking bouquet. Aromatic, mid-weight and gracious, the 1991 is wonderfully complex, with more than enough balance to drink well for another two decades. The aromatics in particular are super-expressive, open-knit and incredibly finessed, all qualities Paul Draper says the wine showed right out of the fermentation tanks. What a gorgeous wine this is. (AG)  (7/2015)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Very deep garnet-brick colored, there’s still a lot of fruit on the nose of this wine with notes of creme de cassis and dried cherries plus menthol, black olives, yeast extract, moss covered bark and soy. Rich, full, concentrated and still very youthful, there are plenty of spice, mint and vanilla notes in the mouth, finishing very long. (LPB)  (11/2011)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Rich, with currant, mineral, spice, sage, leather and black cherry. Supple in texture, graceful in style and long, persistent and focused on the finish. Tannins are fine-grained. Magnificent Monte Bello that defines the complexity, weight, style, flavor and nuance of this vineyard in its best years. (Web Only- 2002)

Jancis Robinson

 Very rich and opulent. Velvety, yet still with a real spine and wonderful finish. Thick and sweet. Great, dense and juicy. Quite stunning in a fulsome way. Less different from the California Cabernet norm than some vintages. 19/20 points. Drink 2000-2025.  (3/2010)

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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.