1974 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #901544 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1974 Monte Bello is a spectacular wine that's in its prime today, soaring from the glass with an exuberant bouquet of ripe cherries, plums, cigar box, black truffle and petroleum jelly. On the palate, it's full-bodied, broad and powerful, with a dramatically lavish attack, considerable mid-palate amplitude and a deep core of ripe, succulent fruit framed by melting tannins and juicy acids. There's still some chalky grip on the long, savory finish, and I'd expect this to drink well for another decade or two. 1974 was a great vintage for California Cabernet Sauvignon, and Ridge's Monte Bello is right up there with the likes of Heitz's Martha's Vineyard and Phelps's Insignia as one of the year's qualitative pinnacles. (WK)  (5/2018)

100 points Vinous

 I have been fortunate to drink the 1974 Monte Bello three times in the last year. I served this bottle, from my cellar, blind to a group of hard-core Francophiles at the end of a dinner that showcased the best of Burgundy and Bordeaux. Every person in the room thought the wine was Bordeaux. No one came close to guessing California, much less identifying the age of the wine or the vintage. When the 1974 Monte Bello was revealed, there was only silence at the table. Tasted from a perfect bottle, the 1974 remains almost unnaturally deep, powerful and intense. It is an eternal wine whose life will only be determined by how well corks hold up. Put simply, the 1974 Monte Bello is one of the greatest and most singular wines I have ever tasted from any region in the world. (AG)  (7/2016)

K&L Notes

95 points, Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted at the Fine Wine Experience vertical. This has a very lifted, minty bouquet with touches of cedar, camphor and peppermint, still with superb freshness. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, real depth and weight here with expressive ripe black fruits. Superb acidity and tension with sprightly red-berried fruit zinging about the mouth on the finish. Opulent but controlled, the more extrovert cousin of the ‘71. You just cannot complain about this wine." (11/2009)


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Price: $324.99
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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.