2014 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1309140 98 points James Suckling

 Unique aromas of blackberry, black currant, dark chocolate and walnut. Full body, very powerful and tannic. Incredible depth and power. Precise and so focused. Muscular. Great structure. This needs at least six to eight years to come together. *Top 100 of 2017*  (1/2018)

97 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello checks in as 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc. A much deeper, richer wine compared to the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers incredible notes of crème de cassis, vanilla bean, tobacco leaf, and scorched earth. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with moderate acidity and ripe yet present tannin, it's going to drink nicely with just short-term cellaring yet shine for two decades or more. It doesn't have the overt concentration and structure of the 2012 and 2013, but has sensational purity, balance, and elegance.  (6/2018)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A worthy successor to the profound 2013 and the fruit of the earliest harvest on record at this address, the 2014 Monte Bello is still quite youthfully expressive, wafting from the glass with an exuberant bouquet of minty dark berries, plums, black cherries, cigar box and a nicely integrated framing of new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and intense, with a rich chassis of structuring tannins, which are currently largely concealed in a succulent core of fruit, and bright balancing acids. In profile, it's structurally more open-knit and giving than the massive 2013, and I suspect it will reach its plateau sooner, but it should enjoy over three decades of longevity. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, and it attained 13.5% natural alcohol. 'The drought had a positive effect on concentration,' observed winemaker Eric Baugher when we corresponded shortly after harvest, adding that 'the wines are opaque in color, with rich tannins and marvellous fruit.' Four years later, that remains an accurate characterization of the 2014 Monte Bello. (WK)  (5/2018)

96 points Decanter

 Refined and complex, this wine has an expressive aromatic profile of cherry, blackcurrant, hints of mint, coconut and cedar wood oak. The palate is very elegant, expressing fine tannins, succulent acidity and long length. The first vintage of this wine was released in 1962, its made from a single vineyard planted in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 730m above sea level and just 15 miles from the Pacific ocean. Drinking Window 2018 - 2030 (RS)  (9/2018)

96 points Vinous

 The 2014 Monte Bello is going to need at least a decade to show everything it has. Deceptively medium in body and super-classic in its mid-weight structure, the 2014 offers notable brightness and intensity in an understated style, even by Ridge standards. Today, the 2014 is intensely linear, focused and vibrant. Petit Verdot is the variety that suffered most in the drought, so its presence in the blend is minimal. (AG)  (8/2017)


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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.