The cool 2011 season turned out a pristine vintage of Monte Bello, made from cabernet (88 percent) grown on a limestone-inflected ridge high above Silicon Valley, blended with some merlot and cabernet franc. The team at Ridge let the fruit recover…
The 2011 Monte Bello (87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc) emerges from the glass with tobacco, grilled herbs, smoke, incense and plums melding together in this soft, beautifully textured Monte Bello. The 2011 is a wine of exceptional textural finesse. The 100% new oak is totally integrated. In 2011, Ridge used a total of 18 of a possible 24 lots for the final blend. The presence of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon is the highest since the 1980s. I expect the 2011 to be a relatively early drinking Monte Bello, but time will be the judge. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2031.
Resting high atop the Santa Cruz Mountains is the Monte Bello vineyard where exquisite wines have been engrained in the estate’s distinguished history. The 180 acres of land was formerly purchased by Dr. Osea Perrone in 1855. The winery and vineyards were left untouched during the years of Prohibition, and later purchased and planted to Cabernet in 1949 by William Short. Ten years later, the estate was sold to three engineers from the Stanford Research Institute from which they produced a tiny amount of wine from the vines planted by Short. The success of that wine and the vintages that followed inspired Dave Bennion and his partners to restore this winery, and Ridge Vineyards was born.
Paul Draper joined the team in 1969 and with his knowledge of fine wine and traditional methods, helped guide Ridge vineyards to craft wines of consistent quality and international recognition. The 1971 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon placed fifth at the 1976 Judgement of Paris. Among the prestigious awards Draper has earned, he is continuing to make rigorously classic and age worthy wines.
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