2009 Ridge Monte Bello 1.5 L

Year: 2009
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 95
Wine Advocate: 98
Connoisseurs' Guide: 95
Wine Enthusiast: 95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$275.00
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2012 WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 100 CELLAR SELECTIONS: #4

"Taut and structured, with cedar-laced currant, dark berry and dried berry notes joining a mix of minerally fresh earth and tobacco flavors, offering a wide range of tight-knit fruit overall. Firmly tannic on the finish, yet the ripe purity pushes through. True to form Monte Bello in a classic style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2014 through 2030. 2,800 cases made." (WS)

"The 2009 Monte Bello ,72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot is simply magnificent. Layers of dark red fruit, flowers, spices and graphite are all woven together in this utterly impeccable wine. The 2009 is an especially huge, intense Monte Bello, yet a sexy, silky core of fruit lies within its imposing frame. Everything comes together in this glorious, radiant wine. Last year the 2009 had some pretty stiff competition from the 2010, but today it is simply firing on all cylinders. Eric Baugher describes 2009 as a year with cold weather early on, followed by heat in early June and July. The fruit was brought in on October 12, just before an intense downpour swept through the region. There is a purity and silkiness supported by structure in the 2009 that is impossible not to admire. Simply put, this is another utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece from Ridge. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2049.

Indiana Jones and I have one thing in common – a fear of snakes. That is why every time I see the sign in the Ridge parking lot that reads “Beware of rattlesnakes,” I get a little uneasy. So it’s quickly into the tasting room for me. Winemaker Eric Baugher and his team have prepared a great tasting covering all of the Ridge classics, plus a few smaller-production bottlings I am tasting for the first time. This is a sublime set of new releases from one of this country’s greatest heritage wineries. It’s hard to know where to start, but the highlights are the 2009 Monte Bello, followed by the 2010, which will be released this year, plus some of the Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based wines. The 2010 harvest was not an easy one. The summer was very cold, as it was throughout California. Ridge was severely affected by August heat spikes that were crippling for Zinfandel. The wines that were bottled are the result of a severe selection of the best fruit that survived the heat." (WA)

"Ridge has quietly been making world-class Cabernets for some forty years and, from the beginning, they have been balanced wines that have emphasized beauty over brawn. This latest is a deep and wonderfully refined working that teams a wealth of precise varietal fruit with suggestions of fresh loam, briar, black tea and a very complementary measure of mildly vanillin oak. Make no mistake, this is by no means a "light" wine, and despite being so well-crafted as to be almost seamless, it needs several years of age before even starting to hit its stride, and it is guaranteed to continue to grow for a generation. Reviewed: December 2012" (CG)

"This Cabernet-Merlot blend is packed with blackberry and crème de cassis, with a firm minerality. With the weight of the middle palate and the long, spicy finish, it’s especially attractive, although it's also quite tannic. The only difference between this Estate Monte Bello Cabernet and Ridge's Monte Bello Estate Cabernet ($150; note the difference in the placement of "estate") is that the winemaker selected lots from the vineyard that were considered more accessible, which in this case means more luscious. Despite its many charms, the wine should age for a long time." (WE)

Winery Notes:
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and sorted. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria. A total of 86/100 of one percent rehydration (added to three fermentors of cabernet) during fermentation; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 78 ppm over the course of aging); unfined. Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.

A long, cold winter and cool spring led to a late start, but warm summer weather brought the vines back on sched- ule. The last grapes were picked on October 12, one day before torrential rains. New conveying and sorting equip- ment contributed to gentle handling. Natural fermentations finished in seven days. At first assemblage in February, one Estate cabernet parcel was included in the blind tastings due to its intensity, and was selected, along with fifteen of the nineteen Monte Bello parcels; two more were added in May. At ten, twenty, or thirty years of age, this exceptional vintage will match the finest of any region. EB (3/11)