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2008 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)

SKU #1128209 98 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Ridge has long created a Californian classic; that broke all the rules – a Cabernet based wine grown not in Napa but on greenstone- and limestone-rich soils in the remote corners of the Santa Cruz Mountains, aged not in French oak but American. (Though Paul Draper asserts Bordeaux’s use of French oak is a post-World War I turn.) The Merlot comes from plots on heavier soils. It accounts for 28% of the 2008 which, coming after two drought years, shows great meatiness. Amid the youthful oak toast is black tea, anise, cedar shavings and bright currant, plus an intense mineral energy and beautifully finessed tannins. (JB) Inner quote mark (7/2012)

95 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark I love the nose to this wine. Aromas of currants, blackberry, flowers and dried flowers. Full-bodied, with super refined tannins and a long gorgeous finish. This is all in finesse and length. Made from 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Inner quote mark (5/2012)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2008 Monte Bello is marked by the drought vintage, which not only made a more concentrated crop but also deprived the blend of all supporting varieties, as only Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot handled the dry conditions sufficiently gracefully to make the final cut. At age ten, this muscular Monte Bello is finally beginning to unwind, offering up rich aromas of black cherry, cassis, dried mountain laurel, loamy soil and burning embers. On the palate, it's full-bodied, expansive and powerful, its generous, sweetly fruited attack giving way to a taut, firm mid-palate that doesn't show as much finesse as the 2010 or 2012, concluding with a long, stony finish. Baugher observes that in its youth, the 2008 was 'monolithic and more angular—a mouthful of tannin.' A decade later, it's beginning to soften, but it still requires another 5 or 6 years of bottle age. (WK) 95+ Inner quote mark (5/2018)

95 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark Monte Bello is a wine of nuance and harmony, its sleek structure and scents of truffles and tar giving it a feel more often associated with the Old World than the New. The blend is 72 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, the balance in Merlot, grown on a limestone ridge under the cool influence of the Pacific 15 miles to the west. This vintage, from a relatively short crop, has impressive flavor impact without weight. It feels almost spherical, the supple tannins surrounding blueberry and black mushroom flavors, the freshness of the Cabernet hinting at pipe tobacco. A pleasure to drink now, this is firmly built to age a decade or longer. Inner quote mark (12/2011)

95 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Tightly packed, with vivid fig, currant and blackberry fruit, while a spice thread and a light singed wood hint add lift and cut throughout. This has hit a really engaging phase and is starting to shed its youthful exuberance ever so slightly. (JM, Web Only-2019) Inner quote mark

93 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Bright, saturated ruby; this looks younger than a ten-year-old wine. Cassis, licorice, tar, mint, dark chocolate and crushed rock on the nose, plus some obvious spicy, vanillin American oak. At once seamless and piquant on the palate, with pungent licorice and herb notes enlivening the dark berry fruit flavors. A real live wire of a wine, with the lower alcohol obvious in its energy, definition and lift. Not a fleshy or particularly pliant vintage of Monte Bello--in fact, this is cooler and more savory than normal for this bottling--but the very dry, firmly tannic finish features subtle rising length. Still very young, this wine may well merit an even higher score if it eventually blossoms in bottle? (ST) 93+ Inner quote mark (5/2018)

K&L Notes

97+ points Antonio Galloni: "The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot." (11/2011)

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Price: $469.99
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