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2016 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1408704 94 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes from the Santa Cruz Mountain estate, and it follows its big brother Monte Bello's style with a terrific sense of elegance paired with richness. Lots of crème de cassis, crushed violets, vanilla, tobacco leaf, and cedar notes flow to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, layered Cabernet Sauvignon that has terrific purity, building tannins, and a great finish. It offers pleasure today yet won't hit prime time for another 5-7 years, and it's going to evolve for 15-20 years (probably longer). 94+ Inner quote mark (6/2019)

94 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Aromas of blackcurrants, black tea, iodine, some plums and mushrooms, following through to a medium to full body, chewy yet polished tannins and a long, long finish. It builds on the palate. This needs at least two or three years to soften, but already a beauty. Really excellent. Inner quote mark (2/2020)

94 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Once again an overachiever, Ridge's 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is regal. Aromatically intense and deep on the palate, the 2016 proves to be utterly captivating from the very first taste. Dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, dried flowers, leather and menthol infuse the 2016 with remarkable complexity. In 2016, the last year of the drought cycle Ridge made one of the very best editions of this wine. Just as remarkably, the 2016 is incredibly harmonious for such a young wine. (AG) Inner quote mark (10/2019)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Monte Bello Vineyard is composed of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, aged 17 months in American oak (35% new). It has a medium to deep ruby color with scents of blackcurrant, chocolate-covered cherries, cedar, cigar box, red fruit sparks, dried flowers and blackcurrant bud plus notions of graphite and iron. Medium to full-bodied, it offers wonderfully lush fruits and firmly integrated, classically rustic tannins, seamless freshness and a long, savory finish. (EB) Inner quote mark (2/2020)

92 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Reveals a singed cedar frame around a core of gently steeped plum and blackberry fruit, with notes of violet, bay leaf and charcoal filling in on the finish. Structured and toothy now, but should round into form soon enough, as the fruit is very vibrant. (JM) Inner quote mark (10/2019)

91 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark A sumptuous sibling to Monte Bello, Ridge’s top selection from its parcels in the hills above Cupertino, this captures the acidity of the limestone soils in the bright edges of its fruit. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (77 percent) and Merlot (19 percent) with small amounts of Petit Verdot and Franc, this has the juiciness of cherries and plums at peak ripeness, the fragile skins adding their own silken richness to the texture of the fruit. Still, the tannins are a little youthfully hard, and will benefit from a year of bottle age. Inner quote mark (12/2019)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

Outer quote mark As usual not a big and bombastic wine but one of very fine focus, the latest of Ridge's Estate Cabernets is a weighty, well-structured working that delivers wide-ranging aromas and flavors of cassis and black cherries accented with elements of toasted herbs, loam and a tailored touch of oak in a youthfully tannic package that, while not rough and unruly, clearly calls for additional age. It backs away from superfluous ripeness and opts instead for varietal clarity and, in doing so, fits the Ridge Vineyards model to a 'tee'. Inner quote mark (8/2019)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark Focused, pure nose of cassis here. Flecks of sweet and savoury spices add complexity, but this is driven by black fruit. The palate is muscular and rich in structure. Despite this, the intensity of fruit adds an approachability that belies the chalky tannins. Vibrant and yet ripe, this finds the perfect balance between sweetness and tension. Excellent. 17+/20 points (TP) Inner quote mark (9/2019)

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Product Reviews:

By: Robert Cash | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/9/2019 | Send Email
Ridge has been one of my favorite California wineries for many years They produce wines of exceptional craftsmanship and elegance at all price points. I recently had the pleasure of tasting this 2016 Estate and was left thoroughly impressed. Very dark purple, almost opaque in the glass with a deep powerful nose of dark fruit, cigar box, cassis, and forest floor with a seamless wrapping of oak. Frankly, there are just a plethora of lovely aromas to be discovered. Truly wonderful. On the palate, it's rich, complex, layered and full without being overbearing or heavy handed. I tasted the flagship Ridge Monte Bello many years ago and the impression it left is still with me. The Estate ticks all the boxes that the Monte Bello did for me at a more affordable price point, and requiring less aging. Drink now and over the next few years with any grilled meats. To me, this is the epitome of great California Cabernet.

By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/6/2019 | Send Email
California Cabernet at its best. There is wonderful fruit but it is balanced out with structure and complexity.Over the past year there are few domestic cabernets that have so impressed me. This will be a great wine for a special dinner.

By: Chris DePaoli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2019 | Send Email
For as much noise as is made about the "Estate" bottling's origins from the Monte Bello Vineyard and the relative accessibility of the juice, so little is said about just how good this cuvee is year in and year out. The 2016 edition is as good as you would expect from such a generous vintage and is still as easy to drink at release as it has always been, with cleaner lines and more focused notes than many California Cabs. A ridiculously dark purple, the nose is dominated by dark cassis and earl grey tea, both of which are found on the palate along with sage, white peppercorn, and salal. Such a good drink.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2019 | Send Email
Recently I was lucky enough to taste five decades of Ridge Monte Bello with winemaker, Eric Baugher. We tasted 1975, 1985, 1995 (all from large format), 2005, 2015, 2016 and 2018 from barrel. It was incredible. However, one of my biggest takeaways from the tasting was how much of an absolute steal the "Estate" Cabernet is - a true Baby Monte Bello. It was very interesting to hear Eric speak to how the selection of what makes "Monte Bello" vs "Estate" is done purely on structural characters that start to show during the fermentation stage. It's not older blocks vs younger ones, or better blocks vs under-performing ones, it's a true assessment of age-ability vs accessibility. Everything is farmed the same (organically and largely dry-farmed), cropped the same, made the same. The Estate Cab is simply an expression of that same site that shows its true colors earlier in life than the more tannic, structured, tightly wound Monte Bello bottling. In fact tasting them side-by-side is very fun...the similarities in flavor are striking. Eric believes the 2016 Monte Bello has the potential to be the longest lived release of that wine in history...a "50-100 year wine." So unless you have a deep cellar and incredible patience, the Estate Cab might be a good option! I was so excited about how good the 2016 Estate Cab was we managed to secure a bit more wine than usual this year and I hope many of you will take advantage and snap up some bottles or cases. It won't disappoint.

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