Over four plus decades, Ridge's Monte Bello has established itself as one of California's great Bordeaux blends.
Old bottles of Monte Bello can be simply stunning in their finesse, complexity and terroir expression. "Few California Cabernets are more place-specific than this one. Few still are better," writes Matt Kramer, New California Wine. That sums it up nicely.
Even in the context of decades of remarkable consistency, the 2013 stands out as a Monte Bello of enormous promise.
One of the extraordinary qualities of Monte Bello is how it combines density with finely etched detail and elegance. The 2013 is an extreme example. The 2013 was a very low-yielding vintage due to a combination of drought and poor weather during flowering. The vintage served to consolidate the structure, concentration and rigorous detail that are Monte Bello's calling cards.
Monte Bello comes from four adjacent vineyards located 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean on the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The vineyard looks down on the town of Santa Clara. It's a cooler, high altitude site composed of limestone and Franciscan rock. The Santa Cruz Mountains are infamous for their stingy yields. Somewhere around 40% of Monte Bello is declassified. All of this creates a wine of stunning density, precision and sleek minerality. This is Cali Cab at its most distinctive and noble.
The Santa Cruz Mountains are very much removed from Napa and Sonoma wine culture. It's long been a bastion of rebellious spirits. This allowed Ridge to work in its own idiom and avoid the excess that overtook many California Cabs. When the legendary Paul Draper arrived at Ridge in 1969, he had been studying old Bordeaux winemaking texts from the 19th century and set the winery on an unyielding course of classical and low intervention winemaking.
The 2013 shows all the sophistication, depth and nuance that makes Monte Bello one of top examples of California wine. There's regal presence with complex aromatics and incredible definition. In his tasting notes, Galloni uses "sculpted" and that captures the wine well.
I should wrap this up. I'll just close by saying that this is one of the great examples of time-tested California royalty. I'm very happy to offer.
To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
2013 Ridge Monte Bello
Antonio Galloni, Vinous: "The 2013 Monte Bello is utterly spellbinding in its beauty. Finely sculpted and chiseled, with super-expressive aromatics and searing tannins, the 2013 is shaping up to be a modern-day classic. The 2013 is remarkably pure and vibrant for such a big wine. It will be years before the 2013 is close to being ready to drink. Even so, it is magnificent today. Where will the 2013 end up? The future seems limitless for now. Quite simply, the 2013 is a must-have wine. In 2013, Monte Bello is very heavy in Cabernet Sauvignon, partly because Merlot suffered in the drought-like conditions. The 2013 has already begun to shut down in bottle. Readers need to be in for the long haul."