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2010 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)

SKU #1138649 98 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark A highlight of the tasting, with rocking energy, dense black currant and black berry fruit and loads of singed wood thoroughly embedded throughout. Juicy bramble, alder and bay leaf notes chime in, with a mouthwatering mineral spine buried deep on the finish. (JM, Web-2019) Inner quote mark

97 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Aromas of black currant, walnut, black olive and sweet flowers. Licorice. Full body, round and soft tannins and a subtle yet rich finish. Stone undertone. Showing wonderfully now. Why wait? But it will age for decades ahead. Inner quote mark (7/2017)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2010 growing season was long and cool, reflecting the influence of an El Niño year, defined by a short but intense heat wave in late August. But whereas Ridge's Sonoma County vineyards experienced a high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit for two days, Monte Bello ridge only reached 105 degrees. The ensuing 2010 Monte Bello is very classic in profile, offering up aromas of crushed cassis, plums, cigar tobacco, rich loamy soil, black tea and dark chocolate. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a deep and concentrated core of vibrantly crunchy fruit framed by velvety tannins, concluding with a long, tangy finish that's still youthfully chewy. Though the two vintages are very close in quality, the 2010 is very different in profile from the somewhat larger scaled 2012: it's less expansive, but built around a brighter vertical line. I'd recommend cellaring it for an additional three or four years and don't expect it to truly hit its stride until after 2025. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.2% natural alcohol. (WK) Inner quote mark (5/2018)

96 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark Eric Baugher and Paul Draper select this wine from 58 acres at Monte Bello, predominantly cabernet sauvignon (74 percent in 2010), with merlot (20 percent), petit verdot and cabernet franc. They shape the wine through careful sorting of the grapes, fermenting without added yeast, pressing to new American oak barrels after seven days. The wine then ages two stories down in the 19th-century limestone cellar carved out of the ridge 2,600 feet above the Pacific. The vines, rooted in that same limestone, provide a massive wine, substantial in its structure, generous in its vibrant fruit flavors, gracious in its tannins. While fruit is at the center of the wine, it’s savory and sophisticated rather than overtly sweet. The flavors touch on small berries—black currants, wild blueberries—and also hint at herbs (tarragon, tobacco). This is a terrific vintage of Monte Bello: It feels healthy and sound, with tension and drive that will sustain it for decades in the cellar. Inner quote mark (12/2013)

95 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Ridge can trace the first vintage of wine being made from the Monte Bello site back to 1892 and this rich history of production is certainly matched by the esteem in which the wine is held today. The expert hand of Chief Winemaker Paul Draper, Decanter Man of the Year (2000), ensured another successful vintage from this iconic Californian estate in 2010, which concluded with the wine spending 18 months in US oak barrels. Stephen Brook: Refined blackcurrant and garrigue nose. Herbal but not herbaceous. Quite rich, and solid, concentrated and firm, with a good tannic backbone. This is robust and structured, with refreshing acidity on the long finish. Still plenty of life in it. Delicious! Alex Hunt MW: Masterful composure on the nose here. Some tannin (possibly wood-derived) to resolve, but there is abundantly classy and precise blue and black berry fruit, and a real richness of flavour achieved without resorting to high ripeness and alcohol. Still very young, this wine is a strong long-term bet. Piotr Petras MS: Fruit-driven, spicy and chocolatey aromas. The palate is generous and dense, yet showing firm tannins and characterful, stone character. Very well-made. (Panel Tasting) Inner quote mark (10/2018)

95 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Deep ruby-red to the rim. Deep, complex scents of black cherry, black raspberry, cassis, soil, minerals, pipe tobacco and cedar. Enters the mouth utterly seamless and suave but extremely primary and backward; more savory than sweet in spite of the fruit's full ripeness. Sharply delineated but youthfully backward flavors of dark berries, black cherry, licorice, minerals, flower and spices. Fairly large-scaled for Monte Bello but with a terrific mineral spine and definition and tannic backbone. Today I find this wine stubbornly backward and in need of more aging. But it has all the elements to make a very long-lived cellar classic. This powerfully structured wine has buns of steel and really clings to the palate. (ST) 95+ Inner quote mark (5/2020)

K&L Notes

97+ points Antonio Galloni in a previous review for Vinous: "The 2010 Monte Bello is just as stunning as it has always been. Today, the 2010 appears to be entering a closed phase, so it is best left alone for at least another 5-10 years, perhaps longer. The signatures are super-ripe, exotic fruit, sweet aromatics and firm tannins, all of which ensure the 2010 will be utterly magnificent in a few decades. The growing season was characterized by mostly cold weather, with an unexpectedly intense heat spike in mid-October that gave the fruit a final push. One of the things that makes this vintage so compelling is the interplay of firm structural elements from the cold year and a high level of ripeness that was achieved late. In my view, the 2010 is one of the most thrilling recent Monte Bellos, however it won't be ready to drink for a number of years and it won't peak for quite some time beyond that." (07/2015)


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