1997 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (bin soiled label)

SKU #1342494 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A vintage that had big yields and a hectic harvest, the 1997 Monte Bello is a sexy, supple and layered beauty that's drinking beautifully today. Cassis, toasted spice, cigar and dried herbs all flow nicely to a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that has solid textured, good mid-palate depth and still present tannin. I thought the tannin could be cause for concern at first, but they sweetened up with time in the glass; nevertheless, I see no need to delay gratification and would drink while the getting is good. (JD)  (10/2015)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Full deep ruby to the rim. Superripe aromas remain just this side of surmaturite: black plum, black cherry, roast coffee, dark chocolate, menthol. (I might have picked this blind as ripe-year St. Julien.) Great lushness and depth on the palate; pliant, seamless and thoroughly ripe, but with strong supporting structure under the seductive flesh. Finishes with noble, broad tannins and great freshness; mint and licorice notes contribute to the impression of grip and snap. The crop level was 2.5 tons per acre, which Draper says was the highest ever at this estate, and the alcohol is 12.9%, on the high side for Monte Bello. Another outstanding vintage for this wine. 94+ Points (ST)  (10/2000)

92 points Vinous

 (12.9% alcohol; aged for 18 months in new American oak; a 45% selection for the estate's grand vin): Bright, dark red-ruby. Sexy, lifted aromas of cassis, redcurrant, licorice, tree bark, mint and roasted herbs. Intensely flavored and surprisingly firm and energetic, with sweet plum, currant, tobacco and earth flavors lingering through a persistent finish. Tannins are firm and dusty but fine-grained. There's nothing at all over the top about this midweight, focused, juicy wine. Was it fleshier five years ago? In any event, it's still juicy and lively today. (ST)  (9/2017)

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Price: $199.99
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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.