2004 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1032562 94 points Wine & Spirits

 Ridge grows one of the most distinctive Cabernets in California at its Monte Bello estate. This vintage represents a selection of 38 percent of the crop, which itself had been naturally restricted by lower than average rainfall, particularly in winter. Ridge doesn't irrigate these vines-nor do they inoculate the juice to start fermentation, which yielded a modest 13.2 percent alcohol in 2004. The fractured limestone in the soil provided just enough moisture to grow this elegant cabernet, with flavors of wild black cherries and black currants. It feels balanced and firm, dense while weightless, a beauty that will mature for two decades from the vintage, perhaps longer.  (12/2007)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (76% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot, 8% petit verdot and 3% cabernet franc) Ruby-red. Smoky cherry and cassis aromas are complicated by wilted rose, cured meat, licorice and sexy oak spices. Lush and creamy in texture, offering well-delineated red- and blackcurrant flavors, good dusty tannic grip, and a sweet, expansive finish. Impressively deep and chewy, but good mineral lift keeps everything in check. (JR)  (11/2007)

93 points Vinous

 Readers looking for a Monte Bello that is ready to drink should consider the 2004. Just beginning to enter its early plateau of maturity, the 2004 is in a beautiful spot right now. Sweet tobacco, smoke, cedar, licorice and leather meld into a core of dark fruit. The 2004 won't last forever, but it does have enough depth to age beautifully for the another decade, perhaps more. A distinctly floral/savory finish rounds things out nicely. (AG)  (7/2014)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2004 Monte Bello opens in the glass with classic aromas of cigar box, spice and crushed red and black currant fruit, revealing little obvious trace of its time in new oak. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied but still quite tightly wound, with a firm chassis of fine-grained tannins and a bright line of acidity that seem to demand further cellaring. I suspect it's in a somewhat withdrawn phase between youth and maturity. That said, the 2004 isn't as structured as another backward vintage, the 2006, nor do I believe it possesses as much potential for positive evolution. It's a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. (WK) 92+  (5/2018)

Jancis Robinson

 Particularly dark and dense - strongly marked by Cabernet aromas yet very graceful tannins as well as being so ambitious. Very virile. 19/20 points (JR)  (3/2010)

K&L Notes

76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc.

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Price: $159.99
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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.


- 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.
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.