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1995 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #991745 97 points James Suckling

 Amazing flowers and lavender and blackberries. Love the nose. Tobacco and cigar box. Full-bodied, with firm and round tannins. Then there's rosemary and berry on the finish. Give it time.  (4/2012)

97 points Vinous

 The 1995 Monte Bello is powerful, bright and incisive. At twenty years of age, the 1995 retains gorgeous, refreshing acidity that gives the wine lift and energy. The 1995 is a brooding Monte Bello, with darker tonalities of fruit and accompanying notes of smoke, licorice, spice, menthol, tobacco and cedar. Although the 1995 is striking today, it could also use more time in bottle, as it remains a touch compact and austere, especially next to the 2012 and 2002 tasted alongside it. Readers who enjoy cool, mineral and savory inflected Cabernets will adore the 1995, a wine that will drink well for another 20 years. Vineyard manager David Gates describes 1995 as a cool, relaxed, late ripening season that yielded small berries with elevated tannins. A second recent bottle was a bit more open and ample. Either way, the 1995 Monte Bello is a remarkably vivid, expressive wine that has a long life ahead of it. (AG)  (7/2016)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The product of a late-October harvest, the 1995 vintage was Eric Baugher's first vintage as Ridge's winemaker alongside Paul Draper, and I remember him telling me in 2012 that he was afraid extraction had been pushed too far and that the wine might always be somewhat monolithic. In the last three years, however, the 1995 Monte Bello has began to shed some of its formidable tannins, and it's clear that those fears were unfounded. The nose offers up rich aromas of cassis and red plums that mingle with nuances of sweet, loamy soil, cigar box and subtle leather. On the palate, the 1995 is full-bodied, deep and super concentrated, with its powerful core of fruit framed by melting tannins and underpinned by tangy acids, concluding with a long and distinctly stony finish. Today, the 1995 ranks as one of the highlights of the decade. Think of it as a somewhat more rustic cousin of the 2005. It's a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc that attained 12.5% natural alcohol. (WK)  (5/2018)


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Price: $299.99
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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 12.5