2015 Ridge Monte Bello

Year: 2015
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 93
Wine Advocate: 95+
Vinous Media: 98
James Suckling: 100
Jeb Dunnuck: 98+
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$199.95
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77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

"Ripe, with waves of dark currant, fig and blackberry fruit flavors cruising through. Delivers ample cut on the back end, where charcoal and graphite notes check in, along with tobacco, menthol and sage details. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.—Non-blind Ridge Monte Bello vertical (June 2019). Best from 2023 through 2040. 4,400 cases made. -JM" (WS)

"At this early stage, the 2015 Monte Bello is all about potential. I followed a bottle over several days and only witnessed improvement. The wine unfurls in the glass with a rich bouquet of cassis, ripe plums, espresso roast, black tea and baking chocolate, lavishly framed by minty, spicy new oak—which is often at its most prominent at exactly this stage, when the wine is shutting down after bottling. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with rich, velvety tannins and beautifully succulent, even tangy acidity that lends amazing lift on the finish. The most obvious analogy is the 2005 vintage, though it also evokes a more elegant version of the 1995 Monte Bello. It's a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc that attained 13.5% natural alcohol. Since the wine appears to be shutting down, I'd recommend forgetting it until its tenth birthday. Given its structure and balance, it should enjoy remarkable longevity.

When Ridge's Eric Baugher and I noticed that The Wine Advocate had never reviewed the recently released 2015 Monte Bello, we set out to rectify that. I tasted the wine several times from barrel, and it has always been very impressive. In bottle, it's shutting down, but it's also displaying a beautiful vein of acidity that underpins its rich, brooding fruit. A drought year, 2015 witnessed an early bud break and disrupted flowering, reducing potential yields. A warm summer precipitated an early September harvest." (WA)

"The 2015 Monte Bello is just as phenomenal in this tasting as it has always been. Explosive and powerful in the glass, with fabulous textural richness, the 2015 has a lot to say. Super-ripe red and purplish berry fruit, rose petal and spice add myriad shades of complexity as this towering Monte Bello shows off its personality and pedigree. Rain during bloom reduced the crop significantly. Moderate temperatures with no heat spikes led to a long, relatively cool growing season." (VM)

"Stunning depth, power, purity and elegance. The blackcurrants and plums are fresh and intense on the nose with blueberries and gently herbal notes, too. The palate has a keenly articulated array of vibrant tannins that hold long, fresh and pure. It invokes a sense of wonderment at the finish. So long and so pure. This blend of 77 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 11 per cent merlot, seven per cent petit verdot and five percent cabernet franc, is just at the start of a wonderful journey. Try from 2021." (JS)

"A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello is unquestionably going to be one of monumental vintages of this wine. Deep, incredibly concentrated, and powerful, yet also textured and perfectly balanced, this beauty gives up a huge nose of cassis, plums, spice box, graphite, and vanilla bean. With full-bodied richness on the palate, it starts out tight and firm yet blossoms with time in the glass (I followed this bottle for multiple days) and has an awesome mid-palate, building yet perfectly ripe tannins, and a rock star finish. It's about as classic a Monte Bello as they come and will require 4-6 years of bottle age (or more) and shine for three decades or more." (JD)

Winery Notes:

Dark ruby in color. Cassis and blackberry aromas, barrel spice, fennel, scented juniper, and cedar. Rich mountain fruit on entry, violets, black olive, refreshing acidity, and elegant tannins. Strong minerality in a long finish. EB (1/18)