2010 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1126223 93 points Wine & Spirits

 This alternate selection from Ridge’s famed Monte Bello Vineyard proved controversial on our panel. Several tasters found it astringent and wondered if it would ever be approachable. Somewhat oblivious to their concerns, I described the wine as pretty, finding it classical in structure, claret-like in weight and plump with enough fruit to fill that structure. There’s black spice and minerality to the tannins that should sustain the juicy freshness as it ages.  (10/2013)

92 points Vinous

 Readers who can't (or don't want to!) wait for Ridge's Montebellos to hit their stride should consider the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. A gorgeous wine, the 2010 is laced with dark plum, black cherry, jasmine and crushed rocks aromas. Firm yet beautifully integrated tannins support the saline, crystalline finish. (AG)  (7/2013)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (includes 17% merlot, 2% petit verdot and 1% cabernet franc): Opaque ruby. Bright aromas of dark berries, cherry pit and flowers pick up notes of pipe tobacco and smoky minerals with air. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering sweet blackcurrant and cherry flavors with suggestions of anise and mocha. Shows impressive energy on the finish, which is firmed by tangy acidity and a touch of bitter cherry. (JR)  (11/2013)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 If this wine is the little brother to the full-blooded Monte Bello Cabernet, it does a fine job of capturing the precise currant, loam, cola character for which that fancier bottling has become so rightfully famous. Its fruit is focused, its depth is admirable, its tannins are mannerly and its balance is so correct that there is simply nothing out of place here. It seems on its way to a half decade of service, but does offer plenty to like today as well. And its price adds to its attractiveness.  (4/2013)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 One of the lowest-alcohol prestige Cabs on the market, Ridge’s 2010 bottling is dry, softly tannic and light in body for a Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet it’s complex in flavor, offering tiers of blackberries, cherries, currants, herbs and spices. Wants some time, but not a lot. Drink 2015–2018.  (8/2013)

K&L Notes

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Ridge is sourced from their sustainably farmed, estate Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is blended with 20% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Younger vines are sourced for this "Estate Cabernet" bottling than the legendary "Monte Bello" bottling, but it does express the style of Ridge's terroir and minimalist winemaking. Winemaker Eric Baugher's notes describe the wine upon its release in early 2013: "Dark ruby to purple color; blackberries, cassis, violets, licorice; dark berry fruit entry, crushed rock minerals, chalky tannins, full bodied, lively acid, cocoa, exotic oak spice, chaparral."

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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 13